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Tandoori Nights, Bethesda and Gaithersburg - Clarendon Location Has Been Sold and Changed Its Name

Local Chain Bethesda Gaithersburg Indian

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#1 joncephine

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 10:13 AM

A few months ago, a few other Indian-food lovers and I saw the sign for Tandoori Nights in Clarendon lit up and were excited to try another new Indian restaurant. Alas, we were fooled, as the only thing fully operational was the bright orange sign. Now that is has opened, we decided it was time to try again (last night).

I was looking for a menu online so I could get the exact names of the dishes but I was foiled. You'll just have to go off of my memory. I did, however find Eve Zibart's review of Tandoori nights in Gaithersburg from 2002 plus this article originally linked on these boards.

The interior is very sleek and...orange. As we were escorted to our table, we passed a glassed-in section that seems like it would be nice for a large group - though we did remark it couldn't be very good for a private party since it was glassed-in like the snake viewing rooms at the zoo Posted Image . We were seated at a table, but there are several booths with hareem like drapes over the top which looked a bit nicer than where we were sitting. We had to pull salt and pepper from a different table, but our water glasses were filled within a minute of sitting down. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of the service.

The papadums came out with three sauces - tamarind (which I love), an uninspired mint chutney, and what is apparently a lentil puree that looked like chinese mustard, but with a hint of (at least last night) citrus that made it excellent. My companion's salted lassi came out with not enough salt (which seems to be a common problem, or at least in my experience) but that was easily rectified. I ordered a glass of wine later, which unfortunately sat forgotten on the bar until I reminded the waiter.

We skipped the starters, and ordered a lamb rogan josh, another lamb dish (i think it started with a P) and a vegetable and paneer dish which was billed as a chef's specialty. We also ordered a garlic naan and a plain naan to eat along with the dishes. The rogan josh was excellent, warm, but not as spicy as I would have liked, and I'm really regretting not knowing the name of the other lamb dish because that is one you should order. The potatoes were an afterthought, but the sauce was worth writing home about. My paneer and vegetables was just alright, which was disappointing. The garlic naan was just crusted with garlic, which i particularly like and the regular naan did the job.

Overall, a good experience. Who else has gone (to either location)?
Kate
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#2 porcupine

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 10:43 AM

Who else has gone?

I have, but not in about two years. It used to be quite good. Thanks for reminding me.

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#3 bioesq

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 11:58 AM

We visited the Kentlands location only once, and our experience mirrored yours. The spicing was too muted, especially when compared to other Indian establishments in Montgomery County. This may have something to do with the location and the owners' interest in appealing to a broader range of diners, but it does not make for authenticity.

#4 JLK

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 02:09 PM

I don't think I have ever noticed salt & pepper shakers present at an Indian restaurant. Did you find reason to use it, joncephine (other than the lassi)?

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#5 Demvtr

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 05:16 PM

I had dinner at the Clarendon location with two friends last month, and we were all disappointed. Despite the fact that the inside dining area was less than a quarter full, the waiter took so long (at least 20 minutes) to come to our table that we finally had to stop a manager walking by to place our dinner order. He was not at all apologetic, which is fine, and actually conveyed an air of imperiousness, which is not.

My eggplant entree lacked any heat whatsoever and relied on its cream sauce for any substance. An order of chicken tikka masala, conversely, came in a surprisingly thin sauce that really could have used more body (and flavor). And the tandoori chicken was bland, even accounting for the unadventurous nature of the dish.

Usually, I give a restaurant just getting its sea legs a couple of tries before crossing it off my list, and that is probably true of Tandoori Nights. But the subpar service and unappealing food puts this restaurant on the bottom of the list.

#6 smokey

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 09:35 AM

At the suggestions of some friends with whom we were dining, we went to the Kentlands location last summer. I thought it was perfectly ok, KWIM? Nothing made me want to run back, but nothing made me turn in horror. They seemed to have a significant focus on their fancy mixed drinks. The service was, well, ok. shrug.

#7 joncephine

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 06:29 PM

I don't think I have ever noticed salt & pepper shakers present at an Indian restaurant. Did you find reason to use it, joncephine (other than the lassi)?

Just the lassi. I actually didn't even think it that odd that there were or weren't salt and pepper shakers until my friend asked about them. I tend to let the kitchen speak for itself.
Kate
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#8 mame11

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 07:36 AM

Dinner Friday night at Tandoori Nights (Clarendon) was a study in contrasts. The postive elements were not essential elements of the evening. The space was attractive. The "chefs salad" was a nice addition to a typical Indian restaurant menu as it was green salad loaded with fresh veggies, including raw broccoli.

The negative elements were essential to the evening. The vegetable pakori had the consistency and taste of the zucchini latkes that had been pre-prepared and frozen. The Saag was a major disappointment. I have been advised that perhaps instead of, or in addition to, spinach chard may have been used. Regardless, the Saag was sour and had the consistency of the creamed Italian spinach.

None of the dishes were spiced particularly well for Indian food. I also walked away with the distinct impression that this was a formula for an attempted franchise.

#9 squidsdc

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 08:51 PM

We dined at Tandoori Nights in Gaithersburg this evening. I had the Bombay Fish Curry with a salted Lassi and Naan. Mr. S had Chicken Tikka Masala, chopped salad, and Naan. My dish was definitely the winner of the two. The Chicken Tikka was fine, but did not have the complexity of flavors that my Fish Curry did. The salad was pronounced to be a winner as well.

The lassi I had was exceptional--I have never had one quite like it. So many layers of refreshing flavor blended into a frothy delight. I thought I tasted both ground mint and coriander, in addition to a spiciness. I had to ask, since it was so good. There was definitely the ground mint and coriander, plus salt, pinch of sugar, chili powder, and some kind of masala (I'm pretty certain he did not say garam masala, but I'm not familiar with other seasoning blends and what they may be called. I think it started with a C though.) All in all a very satisfying meal for a very reasonable price--appx $25pp inclusive of tax and tip.

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#10 cheezepowder

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 11:56 PM

For the first time in quite a while we went to Tandoori Nights in Clarendon for dinner, and we were excited to discover that they added an Indo-Chinese section to their menu (Whenever we're in Fairfax, we've been making trips to Saravana Palace for their Indo-Chinese dishes). Dishes included hakka noodles, chili chicken, chili paneer, chicken lollipops, and others. They've also added unusual items like olive naan and jalepeno & cheese naan.

They still had the complimentary papadam and three dipping sauces (tamarind, mint, and a curry type sauce). We had the raj kachori appetizer, which was crunchy thin vermicelli, chickpeas, and chopped red onions with a dressing and piled in a big crisp hollow ball with mint chutney, yogurt, and tamarind sauce (served cold). We liked it, but it's definitely sized to share. I wouldn't want to finish the entire appetizer by myself. I had the chicken lollipops. These were chicken wings with the meat pushed to the bottom of the bone and came with a somewhat spicy chili tomato sauce (which included chopped green onion). I liked the sauce, but I thought the serving size of 6 not-super-meaty wings was small for the price ($11.95). I also had the olive naan, which was naan with bits of green olive sprinkled on the bread. It wasn't very assertively olive flavored. You could tell it was olive when eating it alone but not if you dunked it in sauce. Still, I'm planning to go back and give other dishes on their Indo-Chinese menu a try.

#11 goodeats

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 09:35 PM

I had the chicken lollipops. These were chicken wings with the meat pushed to the bottom of the bone and came with a somewhat spicy chili tomato sauce (which included chopped green onion).

The wings? As in the drumstick part or the actual wing? I have only seen them made with drumsticks - funny thing was I was just thinking about making them today, since it was one of the recipes I came across in my cookbooks.
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#12 cheezepowder

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 11:13 PM

The wings? As in the drumstick part or the actual wing? I have only seen them made with drumsticks - funny thing was I was just thinking about making them today, since it was one of the recipes I came across in my cookbooks.

I'm not sure. There was only one bone, but it was thin so they could have taken the wing and removed one of the bones.

#13 ktmoomau

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 08:13 PM

Had a goat curry with creamy spinach the other night for delivery. Wasn't thrilled with it, but it wasn't bad. I just probably picked wrong, the goat was very tender, just too rich and heavy with the sauce. I really with Minerva Express would get on Dr. Delivery.

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#14 jandres374

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 07:10 PM

Coming soon to Bethesda in the old Delhi Dhaba location.

#15 DanCole42

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 08:29 AM

Passable cuisine
And decent enough decor
Had the vindaloo
-Dan

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#16 DanielK

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 09:21 AM

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Iambic pentameter
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#17 weezy

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 10:51 AM

Went to the Clarendon location last night with a friend for dinner. The service throughout the night was very prompt and friendly and the waiter and manager came by often enough that we felt the FOH was being well taken care of. We started with the appetizer platter, then got an okra dish and lamb achari (stewed in a mustard/tomato sauce) and onion bread, with a bottle of Kim Crawford Sauv Blanc to go with the meal. I dont' remember the specific elements of the appetizer platter other than the samosa, which was piping hot, crispy on the outside and mildy seasoned meat, peas & potatoes (I think) for the filling. There was some sort of kabob-ed ground meat, small fried cakes (maybe salmon?), and a few fried vegetable things, and the platter came with a trio of sauces, mint, tamarind and a tangy mustard/yogurt sort of sauce. All of the appetizers were cooked well, but none was remarkable or outstanding. The okra dish was grilled with onion and other veg and completely devoid of okra slime (which is a minus in my book, as I'm an okra lover and the slime carries a lot of the flavor). The lamb was not very different from any other Indian lamb dish I've ever had. The portions were plentiful.

I will say I'm not a big fan of Indian cooking in general: where others extol the complex sauces in the cuisine, I find them muddy tasting from too many spices in one dish, and the sauces generally too heavy/rich or the dishes oversauced in general. In that regard, this restaurant was pretty much the same as most that I've tried. I wouldn't avoid it but I wouldn't seek it out to go again, either.

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#18 goodeats

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:56 PM

ARLnow reports change in name & ownership.
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#19 DonRocks

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:45 PM

ARLnow reports change in name & ownership.


[And that will be enough to generate a new thread.]

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#20 Kev29

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 04:14 PM

Interesting new name - Zaika. A restaurant with this same moniker in West London was the first Indian establishment to win a Michelin star.

http://www.zaika-restaurant.co.uk/

I had a very nice meal there many moons ago.

#21 DonRocks

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 04:44 PM

Interesting new name - Zaika. A restaurant with this same moniker in West London was the first Indian establishment to win a Michelin star.

http://www.zaika-restaurant.co.uk/

I had a very nice meal there many moons ago.


And I had a nice meal there in 2003.

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#22 Kev29

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 11:00 AM

And I had a nice meal there in 2003.


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#23 DonRocks

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:25 PM

Interesting new name - Zaika. A restaurant with this same moniker in West London was the first Indian establishment to win a Michelin star.

http://www.zaika-restaurant.co.uk/

I had a very nice meal there many moons ago.


Only the Clarendon location has been renamed Zaika - the Gaithersburg and Bethesda locations are still called Tandoori Nights, so this thread shall carry on for those two (and someone should feel free to start a Zaika thread for the third).

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