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Spice Xing, Rockville Town Square - A Second Restaurant From The Owners Of Passage To India


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Thanks to all the guests at Passage to India, Bethesda whose continued patronage and support encouraged me to open my second restaurant SpiceXing in Rockville Town Square. The menu features contemporary Indian dishes and a lot of dishes influenced by the foreign cultures that came to settle/rule the Indian subcontinent. Once again the recipes are original as collected by me from various households and I am indebted to all those friends who tolerated my persistence in US and in India. There are a lot of small plates, which make sharing several of them quite enjoyable.
Look forward to meeting all the DonRockwellians in Rockville.

Sudhir Seth
www.spicexing.com

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Thanks to all the guests at Passage to India, Bethesda whose continued patronage and support encouraged me to open my second restaurant SpiceXing in Rockville Town Square. The menu features contemporary Indian dishes and a lot of dishes influenced by the foreign cultures that came to settle/rule the Indian subcontinent. Once again the recipes are original as collected by me from various households and I am indebted to all those friends who tolerated my persistence in US and in India. There are a lot of small plates, which make sharing several of them quite enjoyable.

Look forward to meeting all the DonRockwellians in Rockville.

Sudhir Seth

www.spicexing.com

Congratulations Chef! Will be in to visit soon!
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Thanks to all the guests at Passage to India, Bethesda whose continued patronage and support encouraged me to open my second restaurant SpiceXing in Rockville Town Square. The menu features contemporary Indian dishes and a lot of dishes influenced by the foreign cultures that came to settle/rule the Indian subcontinent. Once again the recipes are original as collected by me from various households and I am indebted to all those friends who tolerated my persistence in US and in India. There are a lot of small plates, which make sharing several of them quite enjoyable.

Look forward to meeting all the DonRockwellians in Rockville.

Sudhir Seth

www.spicexing.com

Is there a bar where you can sit and order small plates?
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Is there a bar where you can sit and order small plates?

We have a full bar and we have an exxxxxtended Happy Hour from 2.30pm to 6.30pm, and yes, we serve in the Bar and the Lounge seating in addition to the Dining Hall (service for Lunch and Dinner only).

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I stopped in for lunch today and was very pleased with the quality of the buffet--reasonably priced, with an excellent selection. I especially appreciated the variety of chutneys and pickle....and the curries were very good. As usual, Chef Seth's food is distinctive and flavorful. (I know, this sounds like an advert, but I'm not that great at describing food. Suffice it to say that it's good stuff.) But what I'm really looking forward to is a full meal off the menu. Now that I work nights, it's hard to get out for an evening meal, but we'll find a way to go soon.

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Tried the lunch buffet today and the highlights were the chutney selection (there must ahve baan a dozen from coconut to mixed pickle which was amazing), the muligatawny soup, the lamb korma, the chicken curry and the red beans massala. There were a couple of misses but more worked than not. Met Sudhir Seth and his partner Harry and they are both exicted and worried at the same time. So go give them a try! I can't wait to see how they settle in!

BTW at $8.50 for the lunch buffet it is stupid good for the money!

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I stopped in for lunch today and was very pleased with the quality of the buffet--reasonably priced, with an excellent selection. I especially appreciated the variety of chutneys and pickle....and the curries were very good. As usual, Chef Seth's food is distinctive and flavorful. (I know, this sounds like an advert, but I'm not that great at describing food. Suffice it to say that it's good stuff.) But what I'm really looking forward to is a full meal off the menu. Now that I work nights, it's hard to get out for an evening meal, but we'll find a way to go soon.

Hey Jeff

You walked in, ate and left without saying Hi. I was in the kitchen and replenishing the buffet. Do ask for me next time you folks are in. It is a good feeling to see known faces in this new area.

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Hey Jeff

You walked in, ate and left without saying Hi. I was in the kitchen and replenishing the buffet. Do ask for me next time you folks are in. It is a good feeling to see known faces in this new area.

I did ask for you. The waiter said that your partner was in, but that you would be in later. I hope I see you next time...

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Went to dinner there last night. Bottom line--I thought the food was generally great and I'm *thrilled* by this addition to Rockville Town Square (which is otherwise marred by some real dogs). As apps we ordered the chili cheese toast and the samosa. I thought the chili cheese toast was only so-so. I don't know what I was expecting, but somehow this wasn't it. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't to my taste. The samosa was fine, unremarkable, but pretty pricey compared to other Indian restaurants. What got the attention of everybody at the table was the chickpea dish on the side with the samosa. We told our waitress we didn't know what it was, but we wanted more of it. I don't know what the spices were, but it was SO good.

For mains we ordered the lamb ishtoo stew, chicken tikka masala, benghan bartha (sp?) and a Portugese shrimp dish. I didn't have the lamb or the chicken tikka, but I can tell you that the lamb stew was probably the least favorite at the table (based on how much there was left over of it). My friend said that the chicken tikka was a bit creamier than she likes it, but she acknowledged that there are probably a lot of people who prefer it as creamy as this was. The banghan bartha was *great*. Everybody at the table liked it. And I thought hte Portuguese shrimp dish was *fantastic* I emphasized to our waitress that I wanted it spicey and it came out perfectly spicey for this dish. Not incendiary like you sometimes think of a vindaloo as being, but full flavored, some heat and delicious. All of the mains came with rice, a side of a slaw-like dish (shredded cabbage, no vinegar? not sure) and some vegetables. The slaw-type thing added little visually, but I liked the textural addition it provided. The rice was fine (it's rice). I didn't eat the vegetables because they basically looked like frozen mixed vegetables (I recall cubes of carrot and peas, I think there was something else, I can't remember) with some kind of spices on them. Everybody at the table agreed that they were the weakest link on the plate. Oh, and that amazing chickpea dish. The waitress didn't know what it was (we'll get back to that) when we first asked. But when we asked her what it was when we got an extra helping of it, she said it was dal makhani. It was like no dal makhni I've ever had (I've always had a black lentil, mildly spiced, very creamy dish), so I found that a bit strange. But I would order it again in a heartbeat. We got plain naan, garlic naan and aloo paratha. I thought the breads were fine. I typically prefer my naan a bit chewier than there's. To each their own. No desserts, so can't comment. We got three EtOH beverages, and a couple of others (mango lassi and something else?). Total (without tip) was $110 for 4. In all, a good deal.

My two biggest complaints have nothing to do with the food. For some reason, we were seated in the bar area (and no, that wasn't the only place for us). The chairs were quite comfortable, but about 20 min into the meal I realized I really would have preferred sitting in the main dining room. I didn't feel like asking to move at that point, but I wasn't really into staring at the bar and the TV. The other was the waitress. She was very nice and fairly attentive. But she didn't know much about the menu specifically, or Indian food generally. And when asked about something, she would smile sheepishly and say that she didn't know. That's not a particularly big deal, but the next words out of your mouth probably ought to be, "I'm happy to go check for you--would you like the answer now, or should I continue taking your order?" She didn't do the logical follow-up on "I don't know." My +1 asked if there was any chance they served burfi for dessert. The waitress had no idea, but said she could get us the menu (ok, good follow-up). The +1 said no, he knew it wasn't on the menu, he was just wondering if there was any chance (it's a fave of his). It was pretty clear she had no idea what it was (she suggested that the chef could 'whip some up' if he wanted it). I'll admit, this is closer to the kind of response I think a wait person should give, but I don't think that burfi is something that can be whipped up. The wait staff could just use some more training. Our waitress was very friendly and I think with a bit of guidance could be quite good.

I doubt it comes out this way (there's very little I'm wholly positive about), but I really, really liked it. It's a fantastic addition to Rockville Town Center specifically and mid-county generally. I look forward to returning.

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Carryout dinner of paneer makhni and aloo do piaza travelled well and was tasty, but Mr. Seth, may I make a suggestion? The website menu isn't very useful to those who aren't Indian cuisine aficionados. Add some descriptions.

You are right, I had missed out on that earlier but the description of the dishes should be done hopefully by tomorrow on the website. Thanks for reminding me. Are you coming this Wed for the $20 dinner?

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Went to dinner there last night. Bottom line--I thought the food was generally great and I'm *thrilled* by this addition to Rockville Town Square (which is otherwise marred by some real dogs). As apps we ordered the chili cheese toast and the samosa. I thought the chili cheese toast was only so-so. I don't know what I was expecting, but somehow this wasn't it. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't to my taste. The samosa was fine, unremarkable, but pretty pricey compared to other Indian restaurants. What got the attention of everybody at the table was the chickpea dish on the side with the samosa. We told our waitress we didn't know what it was, but we wanted more of it. I don't know what the spices were, but it was SO good.

For mains we ordered the lamb ishtoo stew, chicken tikka masala, benghan bartha (sp?) and a Portugese shrimp dish. I didn't have the lamb or the chicken tikka, but I can tell you that the lamb stew was probably the least favorite at the table (based on how much there was left over of it). My friend said that the chicken tikka was a bit creamier than she likes it, but she acknowledged that there are probably a lot of people who prefer it as creamy as this was. The banghan bartha was *great*. Everybody at the table liked it. And I thought hte Portuguese shrimp dish was *fantastic* I emphasized to our waitress that I wanted it spicey and it came out perfectly spicey for this dish. Not incendiary like you sometimes think of a vindaloo as being, but full flavored, some heat and delicious. All of the mains came with rice, a side of a slaw-like dish (shredded cabbage, no vinegar? not sure) and some vegetables. The slaw-type thing added little visually, but I liked the textural addition it provided. The rice was fine (it's rice). I didn't eat the vegetables because they basically looked like frozen mixed vegetables (I recall cubes of carrot and peas, I think there was something else, I can't remember) with some kind of spices on them. Everybody at the table agreed that they were the weakest link on the plate. Oh, and that amazing chickpea dish. The waitress didn't know what it was (we'll get back to that) when we first asked. But when we asked her what it was when we got an extra helping of it, she said it was dal makhani. It was like no dal makhni I've ever had (I've always had a black lentil, mildly spiced, very creamy dish), so I found that a bit strange. But I would order it again in a heartbeat. We got plain naan, garlic naan and aloo paratha. I thought the breads were fine. I typically prefer my naan a bit chewier than there's. To each their own. No desserts, so can't comment. We got three EtOH beverages, and a couple of others (mango lassi and something else?). Total (without tip) was $110 for 4. In all, a good deal.

My two biggest complaints have nothing to do with the food. For some reason, we were seated in the bar area (and no, that wasn't the only place for us). The chairs were quite comfortable, but about 20 min into the meal I realized I really would have preferred sitting in the main dining room. I didn't feel like asking to move at that point, but I wasn't really into staring at the bar and the TV. The other was the waitress. She was very nice and fairly attentive. But she didn't know much about the menu specifically, or Indian food generally. And when asked about something, she would smile sheepishly and say that she didn't know. That's not a particularly big deal, but the next words out of your mouth probably ought to be, "I'm happy to go check for you--would you like the answer now, or should I continue taking your order?" She didn't do the logical follow-up on "I don't know." My +1 asked if there was any chance they served burfi for dessert. The waitress had no idea, but said she could get us the menu (ok, good follow-up). The +1 said no, he knew it wasn't on the menu, he was just wondering if there was any chance (it's a fave of his). It was pretty clear she had no idea what it was (she suggested that the chef could 'whip some up' if he wanted it). I'll admit, this is closer to the kind of response I think a wait person should give, but I don't think that burfi is something that can be whipped up. The wait staff could just use some more training. Our waitress was very friendly and I think with a bit of guidance could be quite good.

I doubt it comes out this way (there's very little I'm wholly positive about), but I really, really liked it. It's a fantastic addition to Rockville Town Center specifically and mid-county generally. I look forward to returning.

Hi

Thanks for pointing out in detail all that went wrong during your visit to the restaurant. This kind of accurate critique really helps us in the restaurant business to focus on and correct those mistakes the way you have pointed them out. Please accept my apologies for not being able to come up to your desired level of satisfaction.

The chicpea dish is Chana Masala and you can always order it as a side also. I am sorry, we do not make Burfi but since I have a buffet everyday we always have some off-the-menu desserts available. Please feel free to ask for me or Harry (my partner) if you are in need of any assistance with the menu/dishes. I must admit that I have not been able to find out why you were made to sit at the bar side if you had not wanted to.

I am still continuing the process of training the staff since it is a lot of info for them to absorb considering that some of them are working in an Indian restaurant for the first time.

I must take this opportunity to thank all the members of this board who are a well traveled lot and use this board to critique; thereby helping us improve our selections and service.

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Hi Mr. Seth,

Truly, I want to emphasize how much I enjoyed the meal there, how much I want the restaurant to succeed and that I hope to return soon.

For example, not making burfi isn't a big deal at all. I love brownies, but not every restaurant serves them! It was more the fact that it seemed pretty apparent that the waitress didn't know much about burfi.

And, if I didn't make it clear, let me now. I never said to any employee that I didn't want to sit in the bar. I'm pretty confident that if I had asked, we would have been moved. It was more meant as something to consider for others who might go. My guess is that there are many people who wouldn't mind. I should have been more aware of my preferences and realized that I wasn't going to like it.

Again, the food is delicious and I can overlook all kinds of problems chana masala like that!

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This was our first Twenty Dollar Tuesday and it was great! Thanks to Daniel K for organizing it and to Sudhir Seth and staff for making us so comfortable. The company was pleasant! The space looks great!

It was really a lot of food for the money.

Highlights for me were the Tawa Grilled Scallops with Anise (nice and spicy) and the Chili Cheese Toast. That was hard to put down! The spreads that came with our breads were very nice too, especially the coconut spread. Among the entrees I enjoyed hte Chicken Chatpata, the Lamb stewed with apricots, etc. (so tender!), and though I didn't try it everyone was raving about the Gratin of peas, corn, carrots, and pineapple. The rice with lentils (Dal Makhai), I will definitely try that again on our next visit. Thanks again!

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To echo MC Horoscope, many thanks to Sudhir Seth and Daniel for arranging such an enjoyable event and a grand repast!

Here's what we enjoyed the most: all the breads were wonderful although we couldn't do justice to the Garlic Nan and Mint Paratha because by the middle of the meal we had just eaten too much. Was hard to see so many baskets of delicous breads go untouched! Loved all the condiments and chutneys. My husband and I spent 2 years in Nepal many years ago, so we really like spicy food, and dal (a mainstay of the Nepali diet) is a particular favorite. The Dal Makhni was superb - wonderfully spiced and so rich! Of the entrees, the only one we didn't like so much was the Nariyal Fish Curry. The fish was just too strong for our taste buds. The Peas/Corn/Carrots/Pineapple Gratin, while tasty, seemed out of place. I'd forgotten that the restaurant also features dishes influenced by foreign cultures, and this was one of those. The rice was delicious. I wish I'd thought to ask to have the chutneys returned to the table - to spice everything up a bit!

The dessert plate was gorgeous and I particularly enjoyed the Shreekhand which was a lovely contrast to the Semolina Halwa.

We look forward to a return visit and more wonderful dal!

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I was there for the $20 Tuesday meal and it was excellent.

The restaurant space itself is modern and well-designed.

Service throughout the evening was very attentive.

On arrival, I had a Mango Martini at the bar which was very good. Not super-sweet and very refreshing. A bunch of donrockwell folks were at the bar. Introductions were made and everyone couldn't have been friendlier.

All of the food was exceptional, but I'll highlight my favorites. From the appetizers the Chili Cheese Toast stood out, as did the vegetable cutless (a beet flavored square of crispy goodness). My favorite of the entrees was the Salli Boti Jardaloo (the tender lamb struck just the right balance between sweet and savory). All of the dishes were well-spiced and flavorful, and this was an incredible meal for $20.

Thank you very much to Chef Seth and the rest of the staff at Spice Xing for hosting us. Thanks also to DanielK and the other donrockwellers for making a new person feel so welcome.

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I am yet another $20 dinnergoer and here's a few thoughts:

The appetizers had their ups and downs. The chili cheese toast was great, the chicken kathi roll was merely good, and I wasn't down with the taste and texture of vegetable cutless (perhaps because I am not initiated into the Holy Church of Beets).

A majority of the entrees were quite good, especially the Vegetable Chorchori, the lamb (the highlight of the meal), and the mackerel. However, I was not a fan of the gratin - seemed too sweet.

As usual, I can't comment on the desserts because I am incapable of saving room for them.

Rob

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Overall, a very good meal, and an unbelievable deal for $20. Very close to my house, so I am sure it will hit my regular rotation.

Here's my breakdown of the meal:

Pickle & Condiment platter with Onion Kulchas

As others have stated, these were fantastic. The spicy jalapeno pickle was excellent, as was the cauliflower/carrot one. I especially liked the mint and coconut chutneys

Appetizer sampler:

Chicken Kathi Roll Good, but nothing special. I expected the roll to be crispy, and it was soft like pita.

Tawa Grilled Scallops with anise The sauce was fabulous and the scallops very fresh, but overcooked. I would order this again with a request to take them off the fire a minute or two sooner!

Chili Cheese Toast I really liked the flavor on this, but it needs to be served VERY HOT. They came to the table room temperature, and the consistency was off. A second round was warmer, though not hot, and you could see the improvement.

Vegetable Cutless (no jokes please) One of the highlights of the evening. The beet flavor was very subtle, mostly for color, and the crunchy exterior was a perfect match with the minced vegetables inside.

Entrees (served family style for better sharing):

Chicken Chatpata (kitchen special-not on the menu) Very flavorful, though possibly a touch salty.

Nariyal Fish Curry (king mackerel in a coconut sauce) I will say up front that I am not a fan of mackarel, as I find the flavor to be overwhelming. So it was no surprise to me that I thought the fishiness of the mackarel overpowered the coconut sauce. With a milder fish, or a more assertive sauce, I think this dish would be much better.

Salli Boti Jardaloo (lamb stewed with apricots-a Parsi specialty) Excellent flavor in the stew, though I did hit a couple of lamb chunks that I thought were a little tough and gamy.

Vegetable Chorchori (potatoes, radish and eggplants) Absolutely delicious. I would order this regularly.

Peas/Corn/Carrots/Pineapple Gratin What a neat twist to see this dish, which was explained as a British version of an indian vegetable saute. I thought the sweetness of the pineapple was a good foil for the dish, though perhaps the ratio of cheese to vegetables was too high, which overwhelmed the subtle taste of the corn and carrots.

Accompaniments:

Lemon Rice

Salad

Dal Makhni (lentils) Absolutely perfect lentils. Always one of my favorite dishes in Indian and Ethiopian restaurants, and these did not disappoint.

Garlic Nan / Mint Paratha There must have been an entire head of garlic in the basket of Nan. Not a complaint, just a statement.

Dessert:

Semolina Halwa What fun - they went a little light on the water when mixing so it would have more stiffness, and it was formed into a little cake!

Shreekhand (yogurt dessert) I would have gone with a heavier hand with the pistachios, but delicious.

The two desserts together were a good pairing, but the melon garnishing the plate was not ripe.

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Keep the criticism coming unabated, it is especially welcome from folks whose taste buds have been cultured thru regularly eating different cuisines.

Somewhere I missed pointing out that all of the service compliments and the martini praises should be directed towards Harry, my partner who has been gracious enough to accede to my request and we even have a "BLOODY HARRY" drink on our menu.

Once most of the comments are in we will do the necessary tweaking to our dishes.

Thanking everybody who joined in the dinner and took time to post their thoughts.

from the SpiceXing family

Escoffier had the better deal though in India, since 50 Rupees roughly translates to just ONE dollar.

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Somewhere I missed pointing out that all of the service compliments and the martini praises should be directed towards Harry, my partner who has been gracious enough to accede to my request and we even have a "BLOODY HARRY" drink on our menu.
In addition to the compliments for chutneys, pickle, dal, lamb, breads and veg chorchori, I'd like to add a thumbs up for Harry's drink line up.

I'm looking forward to having another Anglo-Indian [Hendricks gin, Angostura bitters, Domaine de Canton ginger] served in a chilled martini glass with a cucumber spear.

I noticed a buffet set-up, but there's no info on the website about a lunch buffet. Do tell.

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In addition to the compliments for chutneys, pickle, dal, lamb, breads and veg chorchori, I'd like to add a thumbs up for Harry's drink line up.

I'm looking forward to having another Anglo-Indian [Hendricks gin, Angostura bitters, Domaine de Canton ginger] served in a chilled martini glass with a cucumber spear.

I noticed a buffet set-up, but there's no info on the website about a lunch buffet. Do tell.

Scroll up - Jeff and Dean both reviewed the lunch buffet in this topic.

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A nod from Tom Sietsema:

It was very encouraging to get this write up in my restaurant's infancy from a renowned food critic like Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post. Read below for the transcript of the article

It's a good thing Sudhir Seth says he needs fewer than five hours of sleep a night. Last month, the owner of the popular Passage to India in Bethesda took on a fresh responsibility: SpiceXing (100-B Gibbs St., Rockville; 301-610-0303,, a curry-fragrant addition to Rockville Town Square.

Created by Seth, who starts each day by preparing food for the $7.95 lunch buffet, the menu focuses on small plates and occasionally ventures beyond the borders of India for inspiration. Persia, for example, is alluded to in a stew of lamb and apricots.

One snack we keep returning to, tandoori wings, sounds ordinary but delivers a fiery punch. Seth practically gives the recipe away when he details how the (plump) wings are rubbed with salt and chili powder, then marinated for a day in garlic, ginger, lemon juice and vinegar before hitting the clay oven. Oh, yeah: Yogurt goes on the chicken, too, to help seal in the flavors.

Tamarind-glazed prawns, anise-spiced scallops, "baby" dosas (a shrunken version of the usual log-size rice-pancake rolls): Diners navigate two dozen appetizers before they read about the main-course choices, which include a glossy toss of bell peppers and cauliflower seasoned with wild onion seeds, and a gingery lamb curry with bites of meat that are a tad tough.

An electric fireplace in a corner of the dining room, a leftover from the old Stonefish Grill, looks out of place. Otherwise, Spice Xing's design is in keeping with the theme.

Silk sails dress up the ceiling. Blown-up photographs of spices (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg) hint at some of the flavors to come. A wall in the back is devoted to a shimmering "wishing" tree fashioned from plastic gold beads. The life-size detail springs from Hindu mythology, Seth says.

The cocktails, dreamed up by Seth's business partner Harvinder Sanotra, are up-to-the-minute. ("I like my Stoli neat, no ice," jokes the chef.) A margarita jazzed up with fresh mint and coriander is particularly refreshing, a little too easy to continue drinking through a meal. Guilty!

Entrees, $10.95-$14.95.

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We have a full bar and we have an exxxxxtended Happy Hour from 2.30pm to 6.30pm, and yes, we serve in the Bar and the Lounge seating in addition to the Dining Hall (service for Lunch and Dinner only).
To add to your well-deserved reviews, we sat at the bar last weekend, and enjoyed six small plates and a few martinis. Your food is wonderful, and the sauces are especially exquisite. Your business partner stopped by at least three times to ask if all was well-- it is this type of gracious attention that separates the chains from the true independents, and we were delighted with the entire experience of dining with you. We'll be back, and will bring our friends and family. Thank you.
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I was fortunate enough to visit Spice Xing with a knowledgeable connoisseur of Indian cuisine (this is why I love going out with Slater – I just hand him the wine list, and take a night off from ordering), and we immediately launched into a Keema Kulcha ($2.95), a nan superficially stuffed with flattened ground meat (beef and lamb, perhaps?)

By itself, it was a fine piece of bread, wth a generous amount of meat, but an order of Cucumber Raita ($2.95) really woke it up, making the whole experience very similar to wrapping a Persian Kubideh in bread, then dunking it in a tub of Must-o-Khiar

I have a feeling not many people will order the Dhokla ($4.95), which is an uncommon dish (in these parts) that doesn’t “read” particularly well on the menu: “Steamed gram flour cake with mustard seed tempering.” Looking like an innocent plate of sliced cornbread, the texture of this is successful (there’s an obvious danger of dryness associated with this) but the finish is where you’ll get your first hints that this kitchen is putting out cuisine with substantial depth of flavor. It’s a surprising, persistent finish that arrives in a wave as you get deep into the bite.

When’s the last time you’ve seen Balchao Shrimp ($14.95) or Salli Botti Jardaloo (which, to me, has the cadence of Sally Jesse Rafael, $13.95) on a menu? Influenced from Spain and Persia, respectively, both of these dishes were stellar examples of saucing, the sauces being complex, nuanced, and retaining their interest until the end of the course. The proteins themselves seem almost secondary, and the lamb was even a bit monolithic (as big cubes of lamb are often wont to be). Nevertheless, these two dishes were reminiscent of the very best offerings I’ve had at Passage To India, and are (national press, take note) superior to any other Indian offering I’ve had in the Washington, DC area, other than at Passage To India in the past.

Likewise the Mehti Chaman ($10.95) - essentially a Palak Paneer but really sparked up by a substantial percentage of fenugreek along with the spinach. Alongside a custom-ordered Mehti Paratha ($2.95), this was the vegetable course that turned everything into a harmonious meal.

After everything was served, Sudhir recognized that I was there, and had a hand in making the Seviyan. In this version, the vermicelli was freshly heated – perhaps fried in ghee - and served on the side. It went quickly. The important point here is that Seth did not cook any of the previous dishes (although for all I know he was cooking the sauces all afternoon), so Spice Xing showed me it doesn’t need to rely on him to man the stoves.

And by all means, get the Bloody Harry ($7.95). Made with Absolut vodka, green chillies, coriander, and tomato juice, it’s a drink that works perfectly, not only as an aperitif, but throughout the meal.

With the minor exception of a green-bean condiment served with the rice, this dinner was top-to-bottom great. Impressive.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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My wife and I dined there last evening and were pleasantly surprised. We always liked the previous space and were glad that the owners had improved on the overall look.

It really is a beautiful restaurant. The glass jeweled tree on the back wall is gorgeous.

The food we ordered included the following:

Appetizers:

Tandoori wings - awesome in every way - meaty, spicy and delicious. Get this!

"Baby" dosas - nothing infantile about this - very good

Main-course:

Balchao Shrimp - very tasty and spicy, another winner. Get this!

Lamb Roganjosh - not as spicy as I would have liked it, but very tasty lamb morsels in a nice sauce.

The restaurant was jammin', yet the noise level was acceptable. I think the place aims to be fun-hip-sexy, not 'old world' like Passage to India, which I liked. In fact, dare I say I liked it a wee better than PTI, plus it's closer to where I live. Now I can count *three* good restaurants in Rockville Town Square. I look forward to returning for the lunch buffet, or just sitting in the lounge/bar area sampling appetizers and cocktails.

Congratulations to Mr. Sudhir Seth - keep up the good work.

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Saturday night carry-out is becoming a habit--three weeks in a row--as I work the evening shift at the MoCo Crisis Center not far away. Tonight it was Tandoori wings and Balchao Shrimp. The wings are suberb, so good that I couldn't just keep them to myself. So I shared a couple with colleagues, who became instant Spice X-ing fans. The Balchao Shrimp was wonderful--a lively and complex blend of Indian and Spanish flavors, with just enough heat.

Working on what used to be my traditional night out with Geri is not what I would have chosen, but having this gem nearby softens the pain. And I want to add that the place was packed when I picked up the order. Congrats, Sudhir!

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More props for the shrimp. Love that sauce. The tandoori chicken was also excellent-- moist and flavorful.

I agree with the comments above about making the menu more informative. I had the chickpea pao (was it called pao?) and was surprised to see it come with what tasted like a plain 'ol storebought hamburger bun. Then I remembered that the menu said something about "street food" when describing the dish. I put two and two together and figured that this might be the way it's supposed to be served, but I think some people might be taken aback.

Service was friendly but not particularly knowledgeable-- when asked what a "cutless" was for example. Also, they were over-anxious about clearing plates.

I'll definitely be back soon. A lot of other things on the menu caught my eye, in some cases because they sounded delicious, in others because I was just curious about what a particular dish would turn out to be.

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More props for the shrimp. Love that sauce. The tandoori chicken was also excellent-- moist and flavorful.

I agree with the comments above about making the menu more informative. I had the chickpea pao (was it called pao?) and was surprised to see it come with what tasted like a plain 'ol storebought hamburger bun. Then I remembered that the menu said something about "street food" when describing the dish. I put two and two together and figured that this might be the way it's supposed to be served, but I think some people might be taken aback.

Service was friendly but not particularly knowledgeable-- when asked what a "cutless" was for example. Also, they were over-anxious about clearing plates.

I'll definitely be back soon. A lot of other things on the menu caught my eye, in some cases because they sounded delicious, in others because I was just curious about what a particular dish would turn out to be.

I am glad you liked the food and your comments on our waitstaff are spot on. We are trying very hard to train the staff but since this cuisine is QUITE foreign to them, it is taking longer than it should. I apologize if this in any way marred your overall dining experience. Please do ask for Harry or myself, (the two of us have literally started living on the job) and we would be honored to assist you.

Unfortunately I cannot make the Pao bread in the kitchen but would welcome any suggestions on where I could get some Sourdough Rolls. That would be the closest thing to the authentic Pao which is made with a fermentation starter which is quite often months old and has the aroma of a zillion different kinds of yeast, compared to the local bread which does not quite come upto it.

CUTLESS is just a mispronounced version of Cutlets using the local vegetables. The dish is from the East Indian state of Bengal where the Brits first set foot ashore. It is unique in its usage of Beets and cardamom flavor.

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All of our patrons will be happy to note that we got another mention in the Press, this time it is the On Tap magazine. We do have an extended Happy Hour and am sure you will like the libations and the small plates.

"Spice Xing, the newest addition to the Rockville Town Center, has a reserved elegance about it. From the outside, it looks like a quaint and inviting restaurant. When you walk through the doors, your eyes experience an explosion of color. From a ceiling draped in a rainbow of gentle hues of yellow, green, blue and pink fabrics to an outstanding turquoise wall embellished with a plastic Hindu Wishing Tree and amber colored beads, the vibrant atmosphere at Spice Xing appeals to your senses. The two men responsible for Spice Xing are Harry Sanotra and Chef Sudhir Seth. Both have extensive experience in the food and hospitality business. Hailing from two very different regions of India (Sanotra from Kolkata, while Seth is from New Delhi), the menu is a melting pot of food and spice combinations that can only be found within India’s diverse cultures. Including a creative drink list with selections ranging from a Lychee Mojito to a Tamarind Margarita, the Spice Xing menu urges customers to step outside of their comfort zone of Chicken Tikka Masala and Samosas (which are on the menu.) Menu items typed in red signify dishes influenced by other cultures, like the Persian-inspired Salli Boti Jardaloo and Portuguese-style Balchao shrimp. This automatically makes the curious palate want to take a leap into an Indian history lesson that just so happens to be a plate of beautifully choreographed food and flavors. This reasonably priced restaurant , with main dishes ranging from $10.95 to $14.95, deserves a visit. Go ahead…allow yourself to be enamored by the sensory experience. You can thank me later." -- A. Lexington

Spice Xing: 100 Unit B Gibbs St., Rockville, MD; 301-610-0303; www.spicexing.com

http://www.ontaponline.com/article/11489

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We had a great meal here last night. It was a fairly quiet night in the restaurant, with about half the tables filled. Our server was very friendly and attentive, and clearly enthusiastic about several items on the menu.

Our cocktails were a great start--the anglo-indian was a strong gin-based concoction, I can't remember the ingredients, but I believe that there was ginger involved. Very nice. My other half had a pomegranate martini and enjoyed it as well. We ordered three apps--the bhel puri, which really blew us away with how good it was; the tandoori chicken wings, which were also just great, perfectly spiced, smoky, baked just right; and the bread pakora, which was good but subtle when compared to the first two. I wish I could make that bhel puri, but there was so much going on in that dish that I can't see myself trying to take that on anytime soon.

For our entree we split the shrimp curry and ordered a side of the khurmi nan. The curry was deeply flavorful and just right. I'd filled up on the apps, so only tried a bit, but really loved the flavor. The khurmi nan was a bit of a letdown for me. I had read about it, and anticipated something a little less saucy. It was good, but just not quite what I was looking for. Your mileage may vary. When we go back the next time I expect we'll order the standard nan, but it was worth trying the khurmi nan.

We look forward to going back. The menu isn't overly long but has a lot of diversity, and will be fun to work through.

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Went here tonight and enjoyed every minute of it.

Appetizers: Chicken tikka and the lamb chops. The tikka had a nice flavor and a good kick in the back of the throat but in my mind the substantial lamb chops (2) stood out in terms of pure flavor.

Entrees: The tandoori chicken and the bacalao curry (shimp in a sauce made with vinegar and chillies). Since I only had a taste of the tandoori chicken I can only say that it was strongly aromatic and with just enough heat to count. Quite nice. As for the shrimp, I was impressed with it--the sauce packed a punch but it was mellow enough to work with the shrimp instead of overwhelm it. Very balanced and very tasty. I ate every bit of the bacalao shrimp and tried to mop up every bit of the sauce with naan and rice.

In short, I have found a new place to take my brother and my dad when they come into town. Yum cubed!

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Tuesday night our neighborhood lost power, so darn, we had to go out to eat.

We hadn't yet taken the kids to Spice Xing (they love Passage to India), so I called to make sure they weren't affected by the power loss as well.

We started with the Tandoori Wings and an order of Samosas. The wings had a good spicy flavor, but were a touch greasy. Good sized portion for about $6. The Samosa was excellent, inhaled in seconds, served with a scoop of chickpeas. However, I thought $5 was a bit on the high side for a single samosa, of which everyone got a single bite.

Mains were Tandoori Chicken (we usually order because it's safe in case the kids decide to be picky), Balchao Shrimp, and Paneer Makhni, along with a side of lentils and a couple of breads (Poori and Onion Kulcha). The chicken was in fact excellent, moist and juicy - I find that Tandoori Chicken is often overcooked and dry. The shrimp deserves all the praise received - a rich, complex sauce, and probably 8 or so big, flavorful shrimp. But I think the Paneer stole the show - everyone wanted seconds of this. One of my favorite dishes in Indian restaurants has always been Palak Paneer, but I think this tomato-based sauce works with the cheese even better than spinach. Breads were both very good, and the lentils were attacked and eaten into submission by both kids.

$70 plus tax/tip for all of the above plus a couple of soft drinks was a very reasonable overall sum - we needed a forklift to get out the door. Definitely worth a trip, even if some of the appetizer portions could be a bit larger for the prices.

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Went to Spice Xing on Friday night to celebrate anniversary with the +1 and was reminded of just what a great restaurant it is.

No apps. Ordered a side of the chana masala that I raved about in my previous post (not listed on the menu, comes on the side of the samosa and is really good with great spicing, if a smidge salty). It remains rave-worthy. Dal Makhni was good. Returned to the Portugese shrimp dish I ordered last time (Balchao Shrimp) and LOVED it again. The Paneer makhni was good, but not great. Too sweet (IMHO). However, I imagine it suits others just fine. As last time, the flavors in the food are complex and nuanced. We spent a bit more this time ($40/person inc tip). Not surprising, however, as we had a couple of EtOH drinks and we tipped 25% because our waiter was really good. Run, don't walk, to Spice Xing.

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I work in Rockville so went here for the lunch buffet.

The food was alright. Even though I don't eat that much food, I chose the buffet so that I could try a bunch of different things. The eight or nine dollar price point is fine considering that's what a sandwich runs you these days at places like Panera or Cosi.

Food was interesting, but the lamb dish I tried had some cartilage in it that I had to pull out of my mouth. The chutneys were delicious.

The only thing that irked me was that I received naan, and I couldn't finish all the naan (let alone go back for seconds to the buffet). The one-and-a-half pieces of naan that I couldn't finish aren't going to be reused, they're going to be thrown out because they can't be served to anyone else. And yet, my waitress wouldn't let me take them home. I'm not trying to abuse the system--I didn't fill up my plate at the buffet and then ask for the check and a box, so what gives? This really put a bad taste in my mouth about the whole experience.

Even though I work in Rockville (walking distance from the Town Center), I don't think I'll ever go to SpiceXing again. I had heard great things about it, but I can just go get a sandwich at Potbelly for cheaper and not deal with awkward service.

This might be an atypical experience since others might have eaten all of the food or gone for dinner.

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The only thing that irked me was that I received naan, and I couldn't finish all the naan (let alone go back for seconds to the buffet). The one-and-a-half pieces of naan that I couldn't finish aren't going to be reused, they're going to be thrown out because they can't be served to anyone else. And yet, my waitress wouldn't let me take them home. I'm not trying to abuse the system--I didn't fill up my plate at the buffet and then ask for the check and a box, so what gives? This really put a bad taste in my mouth about the whole experience.

Even though I work in Rockville (walking distance from the Town Center), I don't think I'll ever go to SpiceXing again. I had heard great things about it, but I can just go get a sandwich at Potbelly for cheaper and not deal with awkward service.

My experiences are the same as Dan's - no carryout at all on the buffet unless they charge you. Maybe next time ask for less naan rather than write off the restaurant forever? Seriously, it seems odd to be so negative about what is probably less than a penny's worth of ingredients.

And was the food "interesting" in a good way, or a bad way? How did it compare to other Indian restaurants you've tried? I haven't been to SpiceXing, but I am considering it for lunch with a friend next week.

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My experiences are the same as Dan's - no carryout at all on the buffet unless they charge you. Maybe next time ask for less naan rather than write off the restaurant forever? Seriously, it seems odd to be so negative about what is probably less than a penny's worth of ingredients.

And was the food "interesting" in a good way, or a bad way? How did it compare to other Indian restaurants you've tried? I haven't been to SpiceXing, but I am considering it for lunch with a friend next week.

The naan wasn't part of buffet, it was offered to everyone that ate lunch, regardless. I wasn't trying to take any food from the buffet home.

I didn't request the naan, it's "service" provided by the restaurant. I was thinking that they offered a full basked of naan to me (1 person)--I don't understand why I couldn't take the one-and-a-half pieces I couldn't finish (as a result of the buffet). Are they going to reuse it or something? They've lost the naan already, whether to me or the trash, once they served it. Maybe they should make a practice of giving less naan, especially if you're getting the buffet. Or only giving naan if you don't get the buffet and providing naan at the buffet for those that are partaking and are interested.

I just hate the idea of wasting (edible) food.

The food wasn't disgusting, but it wasn't great. I've had better Indian food for around the same price and I've had better lunch buffets (regardless of the price).

And yes, little things like this can really sour an experience for me. Things like this, or being seated next to the hostess stand/door for a pre-noted special occasion with refusal to change tables, or the attitude of a waiter, or the lack of service, or having to send back food because it's cooked incorrectly, or having dirty silverware--those little things bother me.

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No offense but I think this a pretty strange thing to be annoyed by. To put it bluntly, it seems like it may be you rather than the restaurant that's the issue in this case. That said, everyone's entitled to their opinion (this comment being my opinion on your opinion- heh)

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I didn't request the naan, it's "service" provided by the restaurant.

What I LIKE about this place is that they bring you fresh, hot naan rather than putting stuff on the buffet line to get stiff and cold. I actually thought it was a great touch. And they didn't bring it out till we went to the buffet for our food, which might have been a coincidence, but it was great to sit down with a nice plate from the buffet and soft, hot naan.

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