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Bombay Bistro, Chef KN Vinod's Original Restaurant at West Montgomery Avenue in Downtown Rockville - Separate Ownership Than Fairfax Location


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Located in downtown Rockville on West Montgomery Ave. (there is also another branch in Fairfax, VA) this is a small unpretentious place. It has been in Washintonian Magazine's list of best restaurants and best bargain restaurants since it opened and rightfully so.

Dinner was in a word excellent. We started with two appetizers for the table. The first, Mussels a la Bistro, Prince Edward Island Mussels steamed in its own juices with garlic, shallots, tomatoes, spices, curry leaves and white wine, was to die for. The sauce was so good we couldng wait to get the bread basket to sop it up. The mussels were large, plump, and full of flavor. The second was the Bombay Mini Delights, tiny steamed mini lentil and rice cakes topped with assorted chutneys. Yum.

For our entrees I ordered the Whole Maryland Rockfish, a whole fish marinated with yogurt, ginger, garlic, and spices, cooked in the Tandoori oven. My wife had the Tandoori Salmon, marinated in a blend of spices, yogurt, and charcoal grilled in the Tandoori oven. My son ordered the Chicken Tikka Makhani, boneless pieces of chicken cooked in Tandor and finished in a flavorful tomato based gravy. He loved it. We ordered a bread basket (it was huge) to sop up all the juices and to have with the order of Dal Makhani. Two Kingfishers and a Coke rounded out the meal. Total cost for the three of us with tax before tip, $77.

Service was excellent, almost courtly. The kitchen is in view and the tables not crowded together. Small (as expected) wine list of no interest.

Bottom line, if you like Indian food, this is a great place to eat.

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As noted elsewhere, this is my lunch spot about once a month. They do a nice buffet. Nothing truly extraordinary, but everything very solid and delicious.

 
I'm with you on the buffet - decent, but nothing special. You should go there for dinner some time after work. They really do a far better job on dinner than they do on the buffet.

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This is our go-to carryout, although the few time we've dined in it's been very good also. We've always found the manager and staff to be very welcoming but the place badly needed a freshening up. I might have to stop in for lunch and see how it looks now.

Maybe the Rockville lunch bunch could make it an outing.

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I had dinner at the Rockville location a few years ago & I didn't think it was anything to remember.

Haandi's lunch buffet in Bethesda that I had more recently (about a month ago) had me wanting to go back for more though.

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We have been going back about once or twice a month. And for $16.95, the Tandoori Rockfish is a steal. Last night it was huge, enough for two easily (unless of course one of them is a teenage boy) and cooked perfectly. The meat was flaky and flavorful and the skin crispy and delish. The plate is so huge with the rice and vegs. and salad that it is almost impossible to finish everything. As usual we had the mussels, which were plump, flavorful and good to the last drop of sauce. We also ordered the calamari appetizer because we enjoyed it so much the last time. Again a good choice.

My son ordered the Lamb Rogan Josh and loved it. My wife had the shrimp and scallops Masala, again, loved it. The Dal Makhani was as usual excellent and the Onion Kulcha and Garlic Naan were piping hot and soo good. I's sure there is a better Indian restaurant in DC, but I'd be hard pressed to say where, especially for the price. Two appetizers, Dal, three entrees, two breads, tea and beer, tax and a 20% tip all came to $90.

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Went to the one in rockville and had a very good, straight up Indian meal. Started out with these powder puff looking things with a sampling of three sauces/curries that was good but not great. Followed by what I describe as a pea/potato?/lentil pancake with a slurry of well flavored chick peas sauce. This was really quite good.

My wife had a tandoori king prawn dish that was perfect and tasty. I opted for a hot by lots of pepper braised chicken in sauce dish that I devoured. It was very, very good. No room for dessert, but that was fine with me.

The place is fairly small (30-40 seats) with the tables spaced closely together. The kitchen was semi-open and you could see what was going on. I thought the service was OK, if a little terse. But we got in and out of there with tax and tip, too, for $60 for the two of us (no booze).

I'd go back.

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I had a thoroughly disapointing lunch at Bombay Bistro in Rockville yesterday. From the special holiday buffet the bluefish was chewy, dry and had little spice, the goat curry had a nice sauce but the goat was overcooked, the vegetable dishes were bland. The only dish that I tried that interested me was a spicy sambar. My daughter ordered baigan bartha which has been her favorite there for many years. The recipe had obviously been changed and instead of the smoky, thick, spice laden dish that she expected she got a bland bowl of soupy, boiled eggplant and onion. Although this has been on our rotation for almost 10 years I do not think we will return.

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I had a thoroughly disapointing lunch at Bombay Bistro in Rockville yesterday. ... Although this has been on our rotation for almost 10 years I do not think we will return.

Has it been on your lunch rotation, or your dinner rotation? Because over the years, I've found the two to be very Jekyll-and-Hyde. Their lunch buffet has been routinely very disappointing, but dinners have been good northern Indian...just not as good as Haandi, or the various Connaught Place spinoffs IMHO.

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On a long drive home after an exhausting day, Mr P and I decided on carryout from Bombay Bistro (Rockville). It was once a favorite, and it's a small detour on our route home, so it seemed a perfect "I'm too tired to cook/clean up" solution.

What a disappointment. A tamarind flavored chickpea dish was dull. The mutter paneer was awful, with tough cheese and old, gray peas. You remember when you were a kid and had to eat overcooked, gray, mushy, nasty peas? and you refused 'cause they were, like, gross? and your parents made you eat them anyway? and then you grew up and discovered how good really fresh peas briefly cooked can be? This dish will take you back to your childhood.

Even the rice was bad; clumpy and a bit mushy, with very little flavor.

Lamb vindaloo was actually not bad - decently cooked lamb with a bit too much fatty tissue and gristle, and had a nice vinegar tang in the brick-red, complex sauce. But it was so screamingly hot that I could barely eat it. I like it hot but holy cow was this spicy!* Maybe others would enjoy it.

Hope it was an off night, but we've gotten carryout a few times in the last two years and not cared for it much, though this was by far the worst. Maybe they're good for eat in but suck for carryout? Any thoughts, anyone?

*taste bud calibration, since 'spicy' is awfully subjective: Thai Basil offers four heat levels: American hot, Mexican hot, Thai hot, and Laos hot; I like it Thai hot. This vindaloo was insane Laotian doubleplus hot.

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Hope it was an off night, but we've gotten carryout a few times in the last two years and not cared for it much, though this was by far the worst. Maybe they're good for eat in but suck for carryout? Any thoughts, anyone?

 
I haven't been to the Rockville location in a long time, but I do know that it's under the same ownership as before (as opposed to the Fairfax location which was sold awhile back, but still retains much of the kitchen staff).

Cheers,
Rocks.

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Hope it was an off night, but we've gotten carryout a few times in the last two years and not cared for it much, though this was by far the worst. Maybe they're good for eat in but suck for carryout? Any thoughts, anyone?

 
I took the wife and kids to dinner there about a month ago. It's not Passage to India, but it's 5 minutes from the house, and it's cheaper. If memory serves, we had Samosas, Tandoori Chicken, Lamb Rogan Josh, a fish special, and some bread and dessert. Food was very good, service was, as usual, excellent.

We've never done carryout, so I can't speak to a variance there.

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I went to the one in Rockville last week for the first time and thought it was just ok. Each dish seemed a couple dollars more than I expected for the environment and then the results. I had a lamb dish with a cilantro based sauce that lacked the depth I'm used to at Passage to India even though the prices were very comparable. My side of lentils, on the other hand, was rich and a meal in themself, though it should be for the $7-8 I paid for them.

Pax,

Brian

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Damn. This has been my go-to local place for Indian for nearly 10 years.

Again, it was fine, just not impressive on my first and only (so far) outing. If I really wanted Indian AND I was in Rockville, I'd go here without qualms. I'd get those lentils again. Maybe it was my mood that night, and I didn't like the dark and cold atmosphere, but I've enjoyed my meals more at Bombay in Silver Spring for a similar price, even though some have not duplicated my satisfaction. Plus I've had several great experiences at Passage to India for really not much more money--and it's closer to us.

To each...

Pax,

Brian

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I prefer the Bombay Bistro in Rockville. It was highly recommended by one of my N. Indian friends who is a vegetarian. The masala dosas are absolutely wonderful. The naan is always hot and fresh. It has an open kitchen so you can see them preparing your food as you wait. As to be expected they have a great selection of vegetarian dishes as well as fish/meat dishes. This is one of the few places where I can get them to make saag aloo. Most places make a saag paneer dish that is tasty but I prefer the saag aloo. My sister who usually detests the smell of Indian food likes to visit this place when she's in town.

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Has anyone been? Any recommendations? We're thinking of trying it out tonight.

It's our regular neighborhood Indian haunt. Straightforward Northern Indian cuisine, well prepared, at a reasonable price. Service is a bit stiff but efficient. Not as good as Passage to India, but it's 5 minutes from the house...

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We went Saturday night and would not come back so quick. We have been going to Spice Crossing but it was 830, no reservations and we thought that Bombay Bistro would be better. Not. The food seemed very one note to us, flat where good food should sing out. It just seemed tired and regular compared to other places we go.

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We went Saturday night and would not come back so quick. We have been going to Spice Crossing but it was 830, no reservations and we thought that Bombay Bistro would be better. Not. The food seemed very one note to us, flat where good food should sing out. It just seemed tired and regular compared to other places we go.

Would you please give a couple of examples of the dishes that you ordered and what you expected and how they failed to meet them?

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Would you please give a couple of examples of the dishes that you ordered and what you expected and how they failed to meet them?

We had Naan, Lamb Rogan Josh, Chicken Nilgiri Khormna and Baingan Bharta. It wasn't bad just not spectatcular.. The Baingan Bharta didn't have that smokey eggplant taste I expect. The lamb was just OK, nothing I would want seconds from.

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