“Buffet” is a dirty word in the gourmand’s lexicon, but there is an exception: Indian food. Nearly every Indian restaurant north and west of Dallas offers a lunch buffet. Masala Masala, located in an old CiCi’s in Euless, goes buffet all day, but there’s more than just convenience that makes it worth the drive. For one thing: Pakistani dishes you don’t find anywhere else, such as haleem, a porridge of lentils, barley, and shredded beef—like a beefed-up version of refried beans. It is sweet, rich, and sensuously creamy. Chicken makhani, also called butter chicken, had large chunks of white meat in a golden-yellow curry sauce, with enough spice to make your mouth warm but not hot. Chole masala, a vegetarian dish of whole chickpeas in a red sauce, provided a more abrupt, more exciting jolt of heat that came and left quickly. That kind of savvy in the application of spices and chilies isn’t something you learn overnight. Owner Roger Lalani and his family have been local restaurateurs since 1993, when they opened the well-rated Chandni Chowk in Carrollton. Other foodie high points: the staff is attentive, and the alcohol policy is BYOB. Puffy naan is brought to your table fresh, not left to wilt on the steam table, and buffet items are replenished frequently so nothing sits out too long. But they do have a regular menu with more conventional Indian dishes such as chicken tikka masala, if the word “buffet” is still not in your book.

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