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  1. 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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