Behold the beginning of our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!
When I don't want to overstuff myself in Irvine or Tustin's handful of Indian buffets or can't go to Artesia for a proper thali, there's Santa Ana's MasalaCraft--an Indian take-out joint to rule them all. The parking is atrocious at lunchtime, but the combo plates (around $7 for a 2-item) is one of the best and freshest I've had in a long time. And there's the part that it's served in portions that might as well as be two trips to the buffet line.
One distinguishing trademark of MasalaCraft is actually the naan, the Indian flatbread that's made so tender here it tears like wetted tissue. Across the brown mottled surface, you also see a sprinkling of spices including sauf (which is what Indians call fennel seeds) for more flavor per square inch than some pizzas have in a square foot. The bread is, of course, perfect for dipping and sopping up all of the chicken tikka masala, because, let's face it, you're ordering the chicken tikka masala.
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MasalaCraft, 2 Hutton Centre Drive, Santa Ana, CA 92707, (714) 696-6272
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