Dancing, Dhal and Dhol as JP’s Newest Restaurant Opens

Family, friends and customers of Tikki Masala dance at the restaurant's grand opening on Nov. 1, 2014.

Family, friends and customers of Tikki Masala dance at the restaurant’s grand opening on Nov. 1, 2014. Credit: Chris Helms

Rain didn’t dampen the joy Saturday as the Sharma family held a grand opening for the third Indian restaurant in Jamaica Plain.

The festivities for Tikki Masala began with professional drummer Sandeep Das playing his dhol, a traditional two-headed drum, to induce a frenzy of dancing on the sidewalk outside 3706 Washington St. There was also a ribbon cutting and a free buffet for the packed crowd.

Samdutt and Kiran Sharma, the owners, turned the former driving school space into a brightly-painted 25-seat restaurant serving mostly North Indian and some South Indian dishes.

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The restaurant has been open for about a week and has several strong reviews on Yelp so far.

Among the guests of honor at Saturday’s ribbon cutting was JP’s Edith Murnane, director of the Office of Food Initiatives for the city of Boston.

“It’s so lovely to see vibrancy in the restaurants, in the neighborhoods,” said Murnane after the crowd finished dancing and had come in for the buffet. “This place has such a lovely family and a lovely community. I imagine it will be a wonderful success.”

On Saturday the buffet was free. Normally it will run $8.95 per person.

The entire Sharma family has been helping get the restaurant open, with sons Gaurav and Saurav coming up from Connecticut every week or so.

Gaurav Sharma said customers will get “the best service you can get anywhere.”

The restaurant does both take-out and delivery. Here’s a link to the menu.

Tikki Masala is the third Indian restaurant in JP. There’s also Bukhara Indian Bistro and Ghazal in Centre/South. Samdutt Sharma explained the name is a twist on the dish “Tikka Masala.” A “tikki” is a potato latke, and “masala” simply means spice.

Samdutt Sharma’s business and restaurant experience includes owning a sub shop and convenience store in Waltham and being a chef at the Hilton in Cambridge.

One challenge the new restaurant will face is disruption caused by the coming Casey Overpass demolition and transition into a network of at-grade streets. JP’s city councilor, Matt O’Malley, is urging residents to “Adopt a Restaurant” in Forest Hills during the chaos and commit to going there at least once a week.

Tikki Masala

3706 Washington St.

617-942-2966

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

The ribbon cutting for Tikki Masala on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. Among those cutting the ribbon were owners Kiran Sharma (fourth from left) and Samdutt Sharma (sixth from left) and Edith Murnane, director of Boston's Office of Food Initiatives (second from right).

Chris Helms

The ribbon cutting for Tikki Masala on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. Among those cutting the ribbon were owners Kiran Sharma (fourth from left) and Samdutt Sharma (sixth from left) and Edith Murnane, director of Boston’s Office of Food Initiatives (second from right).

An overview of the crowd as Tikki Masala celebrated its the grand opening.

Chris Helms

An overview of the crowd as Tikki Masala celebrated its the grand opening.

Attendees lined up for a free buffet to celebrate the grand opening.

Chris Helms

Attendees lined up for a free buffet to celebrate the grand opening.