Vegas Values: Spicing it up

Ever find yourself in a dining rut? Even though I enjoy several cuisines and tend to be an adventurous eater I can grow tired of the same old haunts. It’s good to step out and try new things. Most recently, for me, this was Indian food. I hadn’t tried it before because the opportunity never presented itself and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, what I found was a wonderfully flavorful new cuisine to enjoy.

My husband used Yelp to seek out Mantra Masala. If you’re unfamiliar with Yelp definitely check it out. It’s a great resource for finding recommendations for a variety of establishments in popular cities across the globe. When planning trips outside of Las Vegas or when searching for eats locally, it is always my go-to source. It has led us to a number of great eateries.

Mantra Masala is tucked away in a shopping center on Warm Springs Road near Durango Drive. It doesn’t look like much outside, but once inside, you’re swept into a darkly lit dining room where large booths that offer intimate dining line the walls. Music plays in the background. It’s a cozy and relaxing atmosphere.

Bold potato cakes will tempt your tastebuds
Bold potato cakes will tempt your tastebuds
Photo by Kellee Kunovic

Our server was kind and quick to offer suggestions. We appreciated his warm and welcoming nature.

We got started with Indian spiced tea. It was refreshing; I picked up a hint of mint in the blend. Next, we delved into an order of Aloo Tikki ($5.95), which is round potato cakes dressed in yogurt sauce and seasoned with cumin and cilantro. Flavors were bold, but pleasant. It was a good start to our meal.

We sampled a couple specialties for our main course and also ordered garlic nan ($2.95). We selected the Barah Kabab ($20.95) and the Chicken Mantra ($14.95), both were served with basmati rice which is fragrant rice cultivated in India and Pakistan.

Zesty lamb hot from the clay oven
Zesty lamb hot from the clay oven
Photo by Kellee Kunovic

The Barah Kabab is simply a rack of lamb marinated in mustard oil, lemon, garlic and ginger; it’s then coated in spices and roasted in the clay oven. The result is meaty lamb chops laced with tang and spice. They were quite delicious, but it was the Chicken Mantra that wooed us. The heat (you get to choose how hot you want it) and the complex flavors blend with the fragrant rice like they were all destined for each other. Chunks of tender chicken swim in a sea of cashew gravy with a touch of yogurt and coriander; it’s truly a stellar dish.

Chicken Mantra will likely woo you, too.
Chicken Mantra will likely woo you, too
Photo by Kellee Kunovic

Furthermore, Mantra Masala takes pride in creating healthy dishes, the majority contains no oil or ghee (clarified butter that is widely used in Indian cuisine). You’d never guess based on the taste and texture alone, no flavor is lost. Additionally, they strive to use only the freshest natural ingredients. You can take comfort in knowing dishes are preservative free and processed foods are never used.

I’m happy to report, once again, Yelp did not steer us wrong. In fact, it allowed me to discover a whole new cuisine to savor.

Aromatic rice tastes as good as it smells
Aromatic rice tastes as good as it smells
Photo by Kellee Kunovic

Mantra Masala is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday – Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.

It is located at 8530 W. Warm Springs Road, #101 Las Vegas, NV 89113

Comments