Food Dudes: Royal Masala offers decent Indian nearby

If you’ve read the Trinity Reporter recently you may have seen the small piece about Royal Masala Restaurant and Bar in downtown Hartford. Royal Masala advertises that they offer a 10 percent discount to Trinity students who dine in and show their Trinity Student ID.
The restaurant is located on Main Street in Hartford about a quarter mile south of the downtown area. The exterior is modest, with a red awning reading “Royal Masala.” The entrance to the restaurant is not in the front as it appears, but is actually on the side, down a side street. There is a lot of street parking in the area, but if you are visiting at a busy hour, there is a parking lot behind the restaurant.
The décor of the restaurant is interesting. Near the entrance there is a Greek-style pillar structure, which opens up into the main dining area. The dining room has a lot of natural light, a result of the large windows in the front that face onto the street.
The tables have white tablecloths and various pieces of décor art and large mirrors fill the walls. Two large crystal chandeliers hang in the center of the dining room. In the back of the restaurant, there appeared to have been a large function room in addition to the dining area. There are about 20 tables in total in the main area.
Service throughout the meal was good. Water was refilled often, and the food arrived very quickly after ordering.
The music that was playing may have been a little bit aggressive for the setting and style of the restaurant – they played through a playlist of top 40 remixes that did not quite seem to match the mood of the Sunday lunch vibe or clientele.
I ordered chicken tikka masala and garlic naan. The chicken tikka masala was served with rice. The tikka masala was $16 and the naan was about four dollars. The menu is generally typical to what I have seen at Indian restaurants – appetizers, a variety of chicken dishes, lamb and goat dishes, and vegetarian options as well. The menu also featured several types of Biryani, a dish consisting of spiced rice with meat or vegetables. Most main dishes run about $15-$18 dollars.
The meal’s presentation was definitely a high note. Everything was served in nice white dishes. This was definitely unique compared to some other Indian restaurants that I have been to and was a classy touch.
The chicken tikka masala was tasty. I ordered medium, which was not very spicy at all. Personally, I would go for hot next time. The serving was generous, with many large chunks of chicken and plenty of delicious sauce. The chicken was flavorful, tender, and juicy. There was good depth of flavor from the tandoori spices and cooking process. The sauce was thick, creamy, and packed with flavor.
The rice was served on the side in a generous portion. It was steaming hot and fluffy. The garlic naan was a highlight for sure. Equal parts bready and crisp, it was spread with butter and garlic. Crispy bubbles had been created in the oven and the texture was perfect. The naan was the ideal means to soaking up the extra sauce from the chicken tikka masala. I highly recommend the garlic naan and I am sure all the other types are just as delicious; they had several others.
Royal Masala is open Tuesday-Sunday, and they deliver as well. Although I would consider it on the pricier side, it is definitely a good place to go if you are craving Indian food. It did not blow me away, but its proximity to campus and delivery option, as well as 10 percent discount for Trinity Students dining in, definitely make it a good spot to check out.

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