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Diya, Indian on Route 123 in East Vienna - 400-Seat Banquet Hall with Indian-American Happy Hour - Closed

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Indian food is one of my favorites, so when a friend invited me to join her for lunch at Diya I was a little surprised: I'd never even heard of it. But I'm always happy to try something new.

The first thing that struck me about Diya was the smell - like a hotel ballroom, except in the bar, which smelled like bleach. The second thing was the size. It's huge. But whatever. It's the food that's important, right?

The buffet that day had vegetable fritters, yellow dal, saag paneer, channa, aloo gobhi, salad and a few different chutneys, raita, goat curry, tandoori chicken, butter chicken, one or two other savory things that I didn't try, and kheer and gulab jamun for sweets. "All the safe choices for an American audience," I thought snarkily. "Except for goat curry. That's promising."

So how did it taste? Bland. Brown. Boring. Muddy. Mediocre. If I'd closed my eyes only texture would have told me what I was eating. Not one dish had the complexity and vibrancy that makes Indian cuisine so enticing.

Later I queried several other friends, friends whose judgement I trust, food-loving friends, friends who post on this board. Everyone said it's a really good restaurant.

So I suppose I was just a victim of an office worker style lunch buffet. In Diya's defense, I'll state that I haven't yet eaten anything wortwhile at an Indian buffet (including Masala Art, my current favorite), with the exception of the late, lamented Connaught Place, torn down by the City of Fairfax in order to create a parking lot, may it rest in peace (the restaurant, not the parking lot).

Has anyone else been to Diya? Care to defend it? Tell me that it was an off day or that I need to go for dinner instead?

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Has anyone else been to Diya? Care to defend it? Tell me that it was an off day or that I need to go for dinner instead?

They had lamb chops the day I went for lunch. I give them credit for serving something others don't. As for the food, I'm not much of a judge of Indian cuisine.

ETA: I didn't think their food was much better or worse than nearby buffet competitors.

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Has anyone else been to Diya? Care to defend it? Tell me that it was an off day or that I need to go for dinner instead?

I went a few months ago (click).

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I have the misfortune of working in the TB building. And the misfortune of having Diya as my only option (other than an even more abysmal deli in the interior of the building). While the folks that run the place are genuinely nice and try hard, it's a bizarre concept that isn't priced well for a place that should be a go-to for the 500+ employees in the building. You rarely see people stopping here for the $15 lunch buffet (most other Indian buffets are in the $9-$12 range). But to the point, the food is just not great. Wish it were, but it ain't. :mellow:

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Actually, after reading don's review, it jostled my memory that the appetizers were actually the highlight of the evening when I went there. But I watched an entire party sit for 40 minutes without being served drinks or appetizers, and they eventually left without eating. I think I waited over an hour for my entree; fortunately, the alcohol had been ordered in bottles and refilling wine glasses kept most everyone else happy.

The food was fine. Nothing stood out, and service clearly becomes overwhelmed with a crowd (there was a 200-person wedding going on elsewhere), but if you want to have dinner with 20 other people, they've got the seats to accommodate. Just prepared to enjoy the company more than the dinner.

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I love a really good dal makhani (the slow-simmered dish of black lentils in butter) when I find one...the version from Passage to India, in Bethesda, has been reliably outstanding.  And after last night, I have to add to that list the one from Diya, which is now cooked dum pukht style in a dough-sealed clay pot.  Totally killing it.

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I assume this is connected to the Gaithersburg outpost.  We were less than impressed with the Gaithersburg location.  Food was too spicy for my wife (not me), and they were not particularly accommodating, which is a shame as it is in the Kentlands and we can walk there.

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Just now, DonRocks said:

You're right - it's Greenhouse Bistro & Tea Lounge. I didn't think there was any way a restaurant of this size could possibly survive in this location.

More importantly, what does it say that the single-largest Indian restaurant in DC closes, and there's no press about it? The news here isn't that Greenhouse opened; it's that Diya closed.

Diya has closed, and is now Greenhouse Bistro & Tea Lounge.

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2 hours ago, JBag57 said:

Not exactly.  Diya has closed, but Greenhouse is in the space once occupied by Hunan Lion, on the opposite side of the toilet bowl.

The toilet bowl being that gigantic circle? :)

So, it's the opposite side of the same building? Or is it the opposite side of 123?

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33 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

The toilet bowl being that gigantic circle? :)

So, it's the opposite side of the same building? Or is it the opposite side of 123?

The opposite side of the same building, where Hunan Lion operated for many years. 

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Ahhh, the "terlit bowl building".   Went up in the early days of the 80's when Tysons was exploding with new office space.  Hunan Lion and TGIFridays were the original restaurants and both lasted for a long time; Fridays for a period having a location at Tyson's Shopping Center and the Toilet Bowl until its lease ran out on the Chain Bridge Road address and then just operating in the Shopping Center.  Actually both TG and Hunan Lion lasted a long time. 

The developer sold the toilet building within a few years of developing it and then built the shopping bag building which houses the Tower Club.  (8000 Tower Crescent Drive off of Rte 7)

Toilet bowls, shopping bags, the developer, Jim Lewis left his mark on Tysons...and also managed to lease up a few places that have housed places to eat for a long time.

As far as quality of food....well that is another story.

 

 

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