On January 30th, 2019, an aesthetically appealing new restaurant opened in Midtown at 3252 NE 1st Avenue, in the former home of Brasserie Azur. Maska Indian Kitchen and Bar has proudly opened their doors, serving traditional as well as modern Indian cuisine. The name Maska means butter. The chef and restauranteur, Hemant Mathur, was the force behind one-star Michelin restaurants in New York, Devi and Tulsi. I never had the opportunity to dine at these restaurants, but I did eat at the delicious Tamarind, where he was also involved. Maska is his latest venture.

The restaurant is large, about 7,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor space that seats about 140 patrons between the long bar, outdoor patio, restaurant and lounge space. There is an attractive trellising and greenery over a painted blue ceiling that gives you an outdoor feel. It’s accented with chandeliers, candles, wood and tile floors, and hand-painted Indian murals and artwork. There are two open kitchens, with one that concentrates on bread making. The music, although a little too loud, was a beautiful soundtrack of Buddha Bar.

We settled in with a cocktail from the creative and imaginative cocktail list. Some of the drinks were a touch too sweet, but tasty nevertheless. The wine list showcases old and new world wines, as well as a decent selection by the glass.

The menu is divided into four sections of small plates, from the Tandoor oven, Kulchas which are stuffed bread, and large plates. The small plates include items like cracked shrimp (a little on the soggy side), chicken korma hot pot of farm-raised chicken, crab dumplings, and octopus masala. The Maine live lobster from the tandoor was a reasonable $35 for a pound and a half lobster. But, if I am being honest the lobster was dry and tough. I would have preferred trying the chef’s famous lamb chops. The Maska Paneer, The restaurant’s signature butter chicken was outstanding. You need to lap up the sauce with the accompanying naan bread, and some basmati rice would also be a good idea. The mains also include scallops (a touch salty), fish curries, short ribs, biryanis, goat and a nice selection of vegetarian dishes. Our plates came out in a well-paced and orderly manner. Our plates were changed often. I would personally prefer if the main dishes come out on larger plates so all the flavorful sauces don’t mingle and run into each other.

The restaurant showcases some of the chef’s award-winning upscale Indian cuisine.

I am still a HUGE fan of Ghee Indian Kitchen in the Miami Design District, and I feel their food is on another level. It is more progressive and tasty. However, Maska is a welcome addition, a fashionable restaurant, offering patrons a modern, and chic ambiance, with one of Miami’s best Indian restaurant experiences.

Valet parking is only $5, but with only one attendant be prepared to wait.

Happy dining,
Shanea

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