Chennai Masala: Restaurant Guide 2014

2088 NW Stucki Ave., Hillsboro, 531-9500, chennaimasala.net

[THE OTHER MADRAS] Year after year, Chennai Masala is named the finest Indian food in the Portland metro area, and year after year, this guide makes a point of slagging off the suburban location of this subcontinental jewel. Sure, Chennai Masala is in a strip mall with ample parking and a drive-thru bank close by. If this sort of thing horrifies you, eat at a cart. If not, welcome to the culinary epicenter of the metro area's Indian community. The restaurant's ostensible focus and true menu depth revolve around rice and lentil-heavy southern Indian fare, but the menu also runs a selection of rich Western-friendly dishes like butter chicken and has an entire page of Indochinese offerings. The menu's dosa corner is a crowd-pleaser as well, with crispy platter-sized pancakes folded over your choice of an array of fillings and sauces. The masala dosa is a good diving board, studded with seasoned chunks of tender potato and onion. Those looking for more substantial cuts are best off selecting lamb curry or the blazing Chettinad chicken, but every meal should include at least one mango lassi, a flawlessly balanced beverage which offers a sweet and creamy counterpoint to cool off spicier dishes. JORDAN GREEN.

Pro tip:

Slap your pappy and call him Karl because the lunch buffet, which offers theoretically infinite food lovingly prepared, costs $10.

11:30 am-2 pm and 5:30-9:30 pm Tuesday-Sunday. $.