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Atul Bhola spent the past 10 years as a manager at Heritage India, dutifully fulfilling his front-of-the-house duties while others, notably head chef Surinder Kumar, produced the curries that earned this small, two-restaurant chain all the praise.

Bhola still walks the floor at his new restaurant, Masala Art in Tenleytown, but the man formally trained in hotel management back in his native India has allowed his other personality to step forward: his would-be chef. Bhola created Masala’s menu himself, then lured his friend, Kumar, away from Heritage to execute it and fine-tune it.

Together, these two men have instantly created one of the top Indian restaurants in the area. You can read all about it in this week’s Young & Hungry column.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery