When you're standing in line at newly-opened Taco Masala in Lauderhill, you'll hear a low mechanical hum followed by a soft "swoosh." That's the sound of fresh, warm naan being made to-order by a tidy row of bread-making machines.
The idea of making naan this way may sound odd, but don't think twice. The Indian-style bread is typically made by slapping balls of uncooked dough against a hot tandoor oven, and it can be a time consuming process. That's not what happens at Taco Masala. Instead, Arun's Indian Kitchen owner Arun Sareen, has reworked the process to be more efficient while crafting Broward County's new fast-casual take on Indian fare.
"I'm looking forward to having the same support and the same smiling faces here at Lauderhill location," says Sareen, adding the popularity of his busy Coral Springs-based restaurant prompted him to open one-month-old Taco Masala.
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With over 1,000 five-star reviews on Yelp for the busy takeout eatery off Sample Road — that's 500-plus more than when we reviewed Arun's in 2016 — the business model inspired him to create an even more casual take on his bestselling dishes. Just five weeks old, Taco Masala has already earned itself over 120 five-star Yelp reviews.
The restaurant operates out of a large space located at the center of a large strip mall off University Drive. A large dining room provides ample seating for the swell of customers that arrive midday to file in line to order customizable taco- and bowl-style offerings priced between $7.99 to $9.99 per meal. To-go orders can be placed online between 10:45 a.m. and 10 p.m.
The menu at Taco Masala is incredibly simple, but that doesn't meant the flavors have to be, also. Create-your-own options allow customers to add-on a variety of toppings and sauces to a selection of meat or vegetable-based offerings, each of them among the top-selling dishes at Arun's Indian Kitchen.
Your first choice will be to pick between saffron-infused rice bowls or roti tacos. From there, it's the good stuff: creamy chicken tikka masala (chicken pieces roasted in a clay oven and then folded into a rich creamy tomato sauce with nuts and almonds); chicken korma (chicken in a sweet, onion-based sauce); a delicately spiced chicken curry or lamb rogan josh (a curry-like sauce accented with cardamom and onion); and dal makhani (an aromatic blend of black lentils simmered with onion, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes).
Vegetarian options include vegetable korma; and several dishes are also vegan, including chana masala — perhaps Sareen's most popular vegetarian dish at Arun's Indian Kitchen — a dish of chick peas cooked in an exotic blend of North Indian spices. Last, kidney beans are simmered into a rich stew, enhanced with the flavors of garlic, ginger, and Indian spices.
Both bowls and tacos can be outfitted with add-ons like diced pineapple, jalapeño, golden raisins, spinach, lettuce and tomato, chopped cilantro, diced onion, purple cabbage, and fresh mozzarella cheese.
If you miss the option to choose-your-own spice heat index for dishes at Arun's Indian Kitchen, you can opt for a few shots of Sareen's homemade hot sauce, instead. There's also the option to add his mint sauce or calm your palate with raita, a yogurt-based sauce made with cumin, cucumbers, and coriander that's meant to ease the burn of Indian spices.
Taco Masala. 5415 N. University Dr., Lauderhill; 954-616-5333; aiktacomasala.com.