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I find *most* Indian restaurants' buffets to be, er, um, less than stellar...

Agreed. Indian food does, in fact, lend itself nicely to a steam-table format, but truly great Indian cooking will not be found at a lunch buffet, not at Bombay Curry Company, Saravana Palace, Haandi, Cafe Taj, Delhi Club, Bombay Bistro, Woodlands, Udupi Palce, Bombay, nor anywhere else that I can think of - I've had every single one of these as lunch buffets - sometimes they're good, but usually they're merely "safe but decent." Please don't judge the ultimate quality of any Indian restaurant by its lunchtime buffet spread. Okay, so places like Delhi Dhaba, Jaipur, or Punjab Dhaba may fail the Litmus Test of Suck based on their buffets alone, but as a general rule, some slack should be cut in this area.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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Sudhir Seth, owner/chef at my favorite Indian restaurant (Passage to India), once told me that he won't do a lunch buffet because he will only offer his customers his best. Food that has been sitting on a steam table for an hour or two, sometime including yesterday's leftovers, will never reflect the best a restaurant can serve. I eat plenty of Indian buffets, including some very good ones--Haandi, Woodlands, sometime Udupi Palace--but none of them offer what comes when you order off the menu. Haandi in particular comes to mind. Their murg makhani (butter chicken) is exceptional when ordered a la carte, but it is merely OK from the buffet.

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....but as a general rule, some slack should be cut in this area.

Cheers,
Rocks.

True dat. But I generally, as a rule, do not hit Indian places for lunch for the main reason that many of them also *only* offer lunch buffets and you cannot order off the menu instead (or they make it seem like a production).

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Raaga, in Bailey's Crossroads, is the original neo-Connaught, and you'll encounter a few familiar faces there.

I just had a fine takeout meal of Bengan Bharta, Mattar Paneer, and spicy garlic shrimp from Angeethi in Herndon. Truly outstanding. Better than the three times that my husband and I have actually eaten in the restaurant. I keep sneaking back into the kitchen for bites of cold paneer in a creamy spicy curry sauce with peas....yum.

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Raaga, in Bailey's Crossroads, is the original neo-Connaught, and you'll encounter a few familiar faces there.

I don't know - last time I tried Raaga was also my first time last year, and it was cold and flavorless. This was pick-up carry out too, so I don't know what happened, but I really dislike off-nights.

I still put my vote in for Delhi Club in Clarendon.

Vickie: How close in? Do you want more Fairfax recs??

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We usually go to Jaipur on Lee Highway. In the past, we were fans of Minerva, but not since we've found Jaipur. Indian City Grill on Main Street was supposed to be started by Connaught Alumni - but we haven't visited yet.

Jaipur - 9401 Lee Hwy

Indian City Grill - in the old Brasa Roja spot on Main Street between Roberts and Burke Station Road

Minerva - Lee Hwy & University Dr

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I don't know - last time I tried Raaga was also my first time last year, and it was cold and flavorless. This was pick-up carry out too, so I don't know what happened, but I really dislike off-nights.

I still put my vote in for Delhi Club in Clarendon.

Vickie: How close in? Do you want more Fairfax recs??

I live in North Arlington. Would also take DC recommendations. Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I'll try them and report back.

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I live in North Arlington. Would also take DC recommendations. Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I'll try them and report back.

Ditto on the request for DC recommendations! Bonus to those received in the next 90 minutes. :D

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We usually go to Jaipur on Lee Highway. In the past, we were fans of Minerva, but not since we've found Jaipur. Indian City Grill on Main Street was supposed to be started by Connaught Alumni - but we haven't visited yet.

Jaipur - 9401 Lee Hwy

Indian City Grill - in the old Brasa Roja spot on Main Street between Roberts and Burke Station Road

Minerva - Lee Hwy & University Dr

I like Jaipur for service and decor, but I like Minerva's food better. Jaipur always has coupons in the local Clipper magazine, though. Woodlands in FFX is also good, particularly if you want vegetarian food and dosas. Delhi Club is great rec for North Arlington and there is a coupon for DC from this year's Entertainment book (been meaning to get back over there...)

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We were lazy and ended up at Dehli Club because it is so close. The food is consistently good there, so I am not complaining. The chicken in the biryani was a bit dry. But for the most part the rest of the meal was good and service as great as ever. We also tried the kashmiri naan - has raisin, cashews, pistachios and couple other things I can't remember. It was great but sweet. We ended up eating it after as a dessert. Thanks for all of the recommendations. Now that I have had my initial fix, I can't wait to go up to Heritage in Glover Park.

We had cocktails after on the patio at Restaurant 3. No problem getting a seat at 8 on a friday night. I should probably put this in their thread, but I think this place gets overlooked in all of the hulabaloo about Clarendon. We have also eaten there twice in the last month or so. Their crabcakes suck (was that cilantro in there?) but the rest of their menu is full of pleasant surprises. Hits have been the tuna pops, the burger, lettuce wraps and the short ribs. I think they had a lobster roll that someone liked too. I suppose I should not talk them up too much because the patio might actually fill up.

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This old thread makes me want to ask - what is the best place in the DC metro area for Indian? I like my local Curry Leaf, but am not blown away by it.

We had lunch with friends today at Ananda in Maple Lawn/Fulton.  If I recall correctly, you live in Laurel?  So, quite close to you.  I can't make a claim that it's the best Indian in the entire area, but it's darn good.  All four of us enjoyed the meal very much and the service was excellent.  It's gotten very favorable press (including the DR.com thread that I linked to above), and Kliman has it on his list of Places I'm Eating Now (for what that's worth to you.)

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I really like Bombay Curry Company in Del Ray, but it's not as strong for veg dishes, because it's focused on the curry. It's a more limited menu than most Indian places - and I like that, allows for focus.

Masala Art in DC is very good, but as I've said in another post, I think it's more expensive than I'm used to. Good atmosphere.

Karaikudi out by Dulles used to be very good, than got bad, and now has a new name, Bawarchi, and I haven't been to it since it's changed. Supposedly good.

Passage in Bethesda has a strong following here, and I went twice, and I must have ordered wrong, because it didn't blow my mind.

There is a place in Columbia, MD that I went to before a concert at Meriweather, Royal Taj. Excellent, as well, but really far away for me. The best service I've ever had at an Indian restaurant.

Ravi Kabob is Pakistani, been discussed a lot on this board, more of a kabob joint, has some customer service issues. Lamb Karahi is ridiculous. Just ridiculous. I like the way they do their chickpeas.

Delhi Club in Clarendon is solid.

Bombay Club in DC is high quality, fancy Delhi style place, great Sunday brunch.

I liked Indique, but felt it was pricey. Good for dates.

Of course, Rasika. It's #1 on TS list and Eater. Not classic Indian. Great appetizers. Beautiful presentation. I take out of towners there. I feel like the Foggy Bottom one is equivalent to the Penn Quarter one, but I don't know if that's true for sure. It's expensive and classy, and feels New York-y. Have not taken my parents there yet, not sure what they would think.

I think, overall, we have very good higher end Indian food. We don't have the best lunch buffets and commonplace curry houses that you'd see in NYC (Jackson Heights/Murray Hill) or Chicago (Devon) or even Houston.

S

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Imagine stir-fried, spiced sweetbreads. No, lamb's brain isn't sweetbreads, but it's close enough - and, it's awesome.

I'm lost, I'm afraid. I'm supposed to understand that lamb karahi is brains? And that "ridiculous" means "awesome"? An awesome dish of lamb's brains appeals to me greatly, but I obviously need a better translator here than Wikipedia. I looked up "karahi" and it didn't say anything about brains. I didn't bother looking up "ridiculous", but I thought I knew that it didn't mean "awesome".

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Ha - sorry for creating confusion.

Karahi or Kadai - North Indian/punjabi/pakistani stir fry in a metal wok like device. Lots of fresh ginger on top.Lots of garlic. Thicker gravy/tomato based typically. Spicy.

Ridiculously awesome. That's what I meant.

Lamb Maghaz Masala = lamb brain currry. I will not eat brain.

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Bombay Club is the best Indian I've had in the city (yes I've been to their sister(s) Rasika a bunch of times too), though sadly I haven't been back for a few years now.

I agree. All the staff were well dressed, polite and efficient  and I was dismayed at how slovenly some of the diners looked when we took our niece there last fall. First time at Rasika-Penn Quarter this Friday. I hope it lives up to all the hype.

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Ha - sorry for creating confusion.

Karahi or Kadai - North Indian/punjabi/pakistani stir fry in a metal wok like device. Lots of fresh ginger on top.Lots of garlic. Thicker gravy/tomato based typically. Spicy.

Ridiculously awesome. That's what I meant.

Lamb Maghaz Masala = lamb brain currry. I will not eat brain.

Thanks for the clarification. I remember back in the 1990s when the young folk were using "sick" with a similar connotation. It threw me for a loop when I first encountered it. I will eat brain.

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Karaikudi out by Dulles used to be very good, than got bad, and now has a new name, Bawarchi, and I haven't been to it since it's changed. Supposedly good.

My wife and I tried Bawarchi today.  It was buffet only for lunch, which had we known before hand, we wouldn't have bothered.  I'm not typically one to judge an Indian restaurant solely only a buffet, but this one was pretty bad.  We came to try the Chettinad dishes, and there weren't many in the buffet, so again, maybe not fair to judge on the buffet alone.  But nothing we ate made us want to rush back to try those dishes off the menu.

We also tried Punjabi by Nature in the Lotte Plaza next door.  We only tried a couple of things, but liked them.  They have a bunch of traditional Punjabi dishes here.  So for those of us Punjabis out there, this place may satisfy some cravings that most Indian restaurants can't.

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On 11/8/2014 at 10:31 AM, Pool Boy said:

This old thread makes me want to ask - what is the best place in the DC metro area for Indian? I like my local Curry Leaf, but am not blown away by it.

I'm really liking curry leaf these days. It's a restaurant for omnivores but the vegetarian dishes really shine.

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13 minutes ago, Jessica Strelitz said:

Well, I just did an Indian piece for Arl Mag, so you can send it to your friend with options for the future (if she can overlook the Kohinoor Dhaba mention), I didn't include it because it just changed hands and I want to see if things change, but Saffron is Falls Church is amazing. 

PSA: Kohinoor Dhaba still has a buffet. The last update above, before yours, Don, indicated it was gone, but I definitely have eaten it several times since 2013. 

Hmm, I also ordered carryout from Saffron, once, right after it opened (it used to be Curry Mantra 2, which, for awhile, was absolutely amazing), and Saffron was another Indian restaurant I never tried a second time, even though I lived less than two miles from there  - this was probably four years ago. I used to frequent London Curry House in Alexandria for awhile too (it was essentially Curry Mantra 3), and although it was really good at first, my last two meals there were just *horrible* - one of them had gristly chicken with a texture like McDonald's nuggets.  Bad Indian cuisine carves its way into my long-term memory, and just the thought of it makes me queasy; good Indian cuisine is heavenly. Sea urchin is the same way with me: bad sea urchin is the worst thing in the world.

Now I need to talk you into retrying Mazagan. :)

PS - Thai Square is *great* once again - almost as good as it was in the 1990s.

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Pretty good list in Thrillist of some of the best Indian restaurants in the US.

Obviously been to Rasika, NeeHee's is a hometown favorite, Chai Pani is super quirky and fun, Bombay Chopsticks was one of the first Indo-Chinese places I'd ever heard of, and Bombay Talk is a great place to get veg Indian food when you're buying your Indian wedding outfit in Edison. Time to visit a few of these...  

 

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I found Junoon in NYC to be underwhelming.  As I reported in another thread, a couple of the dishes (Baingan Mirch ka Salan) couldn't even compete with places like Masala Art.

In Delhi, I went to Indian Accent which was good, the Kashmiri morel in a korma sauce was amazing.  We also went to a CP branch of Saravanaa Bhavan, and that was very good...paneer dosa.    

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15 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Ha... such a pain. And they screwed it up. Had to end up having my cousins buy it from India. We didn't do the traditional 'India shopping trip'. Whole family was just too lazy for it..  

Hopefully they got it from Benares! Real old school cool 😎style.

Actually yesterday we bought my son an outfit for the wedding we are attending. 

Bahut-bahut badhai on your upcoming wedding!

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congrats on the engagement and wedding! 

i agree that the food in edison is great. i haven't been to talk, but bombay talk, mentioned in the article, has great snack items. and the chole bhatura at jassi is seriously the best. my husband doesn't eat chole in dc anymore because he swears that jassi has spoiled him. (i don't love their aloo paratha though). 

There's a mini-food court about 2 blocks up the street, on the opposite side. their chinese bhel is great. they have a pani puri place with 6 waters where they fillthe puri for you like they do in india. one of their waters is quite good actually. not quite calcutta-good, but close. 

and i don't love most indian sweets, especially the milk/cheese based ones, but the ones at mughal are really good. 

i've never been to sarvanaa bhavan, but many of my ny/nj relatives like it a lot. 

in the dc area, one place that doesn't get as much press as it should, in my opinion, is indaroma in alexandria. i like their chaats, and when they catered my cousin's wedding the okra and other veg were delicious. if it weren't so far away for me, i'd go there quite often. 

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1 hour ago, sandynva said:

in the dc area, one place that doesn't get as much press as it should, in my opinion, is indaroma in alexandria.

I'm on-board with IndAroma - one problem it has it that it's listed in "Alexandria," and it's in an area most people think of as "Annandale" - it's probably right on the border. Restaurants on Route 236, on the west side of I-395, tend to suffer unless they're considered to be in Koreatown.

Remember, there was a Whole Foods in Pinecrest Shopping Center, and there's a reason it's gone.

 

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