You won't miss meat at Masalaa, an all-vegetarian Indian eatery, because everything is so well seasoned that there's no shortage of flavor. In fact, the name Masalaa means "spice" in Hindu. The kitchen specializes in southern Indian dishes that you rarely find in Denver, as well as superior versions of traditional favorites from all over the South Asian subcontinent. Masalaa spices up such standards as mulligatawny soup, samosas, curries and saag
, and makes dosas
-- crêpes of rice and lentil flour -- that are just right for soaking up its fiery mango chutney. Masalaa's most interesting offerings, though, are the idlys
, especially the miniature versions that look like little flying saucers made from rice, and the uthapams
, bubbly breads topped with fresh vegetables or cheese. Both come with Masalaa's superior sambar
(a stew made from several types of dal
, or legumes, cooked down with many spices). The servers are ready to explain the unfamiliar items that abound at this restaurant, and they are as gracious and welcoming as a warm cup of chai.