Dinner tonight was a birthday outing for lakshmi_amman, to The Spice Bar at Masala Art, in Needham. Capsule summary: on the one hand, that was the most expensive Indian food I've ever had. On the other, it was the *best* Indian food I've ever had. Really great stuff.
The Spice Bar is kind of like Indian Teppanyaki. The Bar seats ten comfortably, maybe twelve if they're cozy, in front of the cooking area. The chef starts off by showing how to make fresh garam masala, and then launches into the food itself. This particular chef wasn't much of a performer, but for a bunch of foodies, simply watching him go at it was a lot of fun.
The meal was beyond plentiful. Three appetizers (including a fantabulous chicken curryish thing), three entrees (including a fantabulous seafood curryish thing and delightful little rack of lamb bones), and then they foisted cheesecakes on us in the birthday girl's honor. Meals were customized to each person: the chef had no problem kicking up the spice level for those of us who wanted it, and they have veggie and non-seafood options for those who prefer. From beginning to end, quality ranged from great to stellar: commentary around the bar was mostly in the form of speculation about whether they could possibly top the appetizers.
The total came to seventy-something per person including drinks, dessert, tax and tip. Definitely a special-occasion outing, but a fine option for that...