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Found 7 results

  1. Have you tried K.N. Vinod's Chicken Chettinad? If not, write me, and I'll track him down and find out where you can find his best version - it is revelatory.
  2. Our family is from Maharastra (west-central India) so I didn’t grow up with the north Indian/Pakistani food common in this area. We’ve been trying different south Indian restaurants because the flavors are closer to what I’m used to. I learned of this restaurant from Tyler Cowen’s website. We’ve gotten carryout several times now (they give a 10% discount if you do carryout and pay with cash). The Chettinad region is known for its cuisine so I was eager to try the food. I highly recommend this restaurant; the food has been consistently delicious. The menu has some North Indian standards but we’ve stuck with the southern dishes. Among our favorites are kozhi varuval (boneless chicken in dark spices), ennai kathirikai kuzhambu (small eggplants in an oniony tomato sauce), dal tadka (remarkably tasty rendition of this humble dish presumably owing to the generous amount of ghee), and Chettinadu kothamalli chicken curry. We always ask for "spicy". In the south, people use a lot of hot peppers. To my taste, Chettinadu’s spicy is just right- a lot of heat but it doesn’t prevent my enjoyment of the other flavors. Recently, we dined in because we wanted to try the dosas. We had three: chilly/onion; paneer; and masala. They were served with three sauces: tomato; coconut; and mint as well as sambhar. The dosas were good, though I prefer the “paper” style. The sauces were fine but the sambhar was outstanding. I’m glad we went. Besides getting to try the dosas, we got to see an Indian “aunty” in action. Indian aunties don’t have filters and cause embarrassment and amusement around them. This one explained in detail to the young waiter how one is supposed to make dosas (use more ghee among other things) and she offered to go to the kitchen to show the cook what to do. When that didn’t work, she asked the waiter to have the cook come out “just for a minute” so she could tell him. Unfortunately, the chef was busy filling orders for the now-full dining room. Her embarrassed son paid the check and gently tried to lead her out of the restaurant. On her way out, she stopped at a table to give the diners a critique of her meal.
  3. I saw Kliman mention this place in his a couple of his recent chats, and thought it was worth a trip. In short: the lunch buffet did not disappoint, and I'd love to go back sometime to order from the regular menu. The buffet is large, and well-appointed with about 8 different main courses, plus sambar, rasam, and a number of smaller appetizers and condiments. The restaurant was packed to the gills by 12:15, and the food was being refreshed at a pretty quick clip. There were no real misses, with everything in general being well-spiced and not swimming in ghee. Standouts included a daal vada (lentil fritter) that was nice and crispy without any greasiness...pretty suprising for a buffet. Topped with coconut and cilantro chutney, this was a great start. I tried a bite of just about everything on offer, but what brought me back for seconds was the haleem. Sietsma talked about it in his review, and it is definitely a dish I'll be craving from now on. The standard chicken tikka masala was a better than average version, with a touch more spice than you normally get. The naan was fine, but nothing exciting. I'm getting pretty spoiled by all the lunch options in the Laurel area...Curry Leaf will now be in the rotation.
  4. Anil Kumar is now at Bethesda Curry Kitchen, right across the street from Grapeseed, which opened on Tuesday, February 11th. On this very cold evening, the nearly empty restaurant seemed like an eternity away from Gringos & Mariachis, just a few blocks down Cordell Avenue, and which also opened on February 11th. I have no doubt that on this evening, Gringos & Mariachis was packed. A liquor license is still a few weeks away, so for now, this restaurant is without alcohol. I started my dinner with a homemade Mango Lassi ($3.50) which reminded me that Kumar's former restaurant, Saveur India, had some of the best Kulfi I've ever tried - Bethesda Curry Kitchen also has homemade Kulfi on their dessert menu. Chef Kumar is from Hyderabad, a huge city in the South of India, and the south is very well-represented on the menu. The city of Coorg sits about 400 miles southwest of Hyderabad, nestled in the Western Ghats. When I go to India for the first time, my plan is to spend some time in Goa, but a detour to Coorg is also on the agenda. Coorgi Chicken ($15.99) isn't a dish you see very often in the DC area, but it was very well-executed here, and obviously long-cooked, containing 5-6 boneless, Halal thighs in a wonderful curry (the quality of this chicken was very high). Served with basmati rice, I also got a Mehti Paratha ($3.00) for the requisite sauce dunking. On a frigid Saturday night, there was only one other family of four dining in this somewhat stark, utilitarian restaurant. "Until you get your liquor license, weekend dinners during the winter are going to break your heart," I said to my server. I cannot think of an atmosphere that's more different from Gringos & Mariachis than Bethesda Curry Kitchen, but both restaurants are initialized in Italic in the Dining Guide which speaks volumes about the potential quality of cooking here. Also just down Cordell Avenue from Passage To India, I don't even see the two as competitors - one is a curry house; the other is fine dining. Bethesda Curry Kitchen is going to survive, not by weekend dinners, but by delivery and lunch buffets. I walked past the empty buffet - which had the signs up - and noticed that my Coorgi Chicken was on it, so you can enjoy this exact same dish for lunch, with many others to accompany it, for less money. In fact, until they get their liquor license, a lunch buffet would be the perfect way to initiate yourselves with this fine newcomer.
  5. Spoke with the owners of Banana Leaf, a new Sri Lankan restaurant opening next to Jakes on Connecticut Ave in Van Ness/Chevy Chase. I don't have a whole lot of information other than they tell me this will be the first Sri Lankan restaurant in the DC metro area. It is affiliated with Banana Leaf in NYC, but the primary day to day operation will be by two guys I met who live in DC. They expect the restaurant to open in the next few weeks with a liquor license to follow.
  6. Been a while since I posted but I think I found another place worth reviewing. Got a fun Saturday planned? Maybe you're going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, if you have enough time. If your suburban angst has you going to Target and Costco and Chantilly then you should treat yourself to a meal at Chennai Express. Recently opened, this place is tucked away in an industrial park in Chantilly in the former Talking Turkey space. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu India. A state in the southern part of the country and the menu is designed accordingly. Do not expect to find Butter Chicken or Palek Paneer, Do expect to find authentic food prepared with care. The owner is passionate about his food and it shows. We stopped in on Sunday for some carry out. I'd like to tell you what I got but I could not pronounce most of it. Regardless. It was all good. Most important is that they do Chicken 65 right. No sweet sauce for this. Just dry, crispy juicy chicken with just the right amount of kick. There isn't a menu posted yet but who cares. Check it out. Its a great addition to the Chantilly food scene.
  7. There is a new sign at the Glover Park location that says, "Heritage Asia Thai Bistro," as well as a Thai menu on their website. (The Indian restaurant is still there, as far as I can tell.) I was just driving by so didn't stop to check it out but was planning to walk by this weekend out of curiosity. Does anyone know what this is about, and has anyone tried the new menu?
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