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Indian City Grill, Main Street in Fairfax - Closed


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indian city grill in fairfax. same chef. really great food

We went to India City Grill for lunch today and were quite impressed. A couple of the dishes were extraordinary, and the rest were quite good. The dal, which I often feel is a throw-away (particularly on a buffet), was second only to the smokey-buttery goodness served up by Heritage India. The Goa Fish Curry was wonderful, with pieces of tender salmon in a slightly-sweet, very complex curry, on par with Raaga at their peak. The Chicken Makhani was one of the best we've had, with dark meat chicken in a makhani sauce that was deeply layered, rich, with just enough sweetness. The offerings were generous for $10, including chat papri, three types of pakora (spinach, cauliflower and some type of squash), aloo matar, rogan josh, a mixed vegetable curry, galub jamon and carrot halwa (forgive my spelling), along with fresh nann served at the table. We'll definitely be back.

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We went to India City Grill for lunch today and were quite impressed. A couple of the dishes were extraordinary, and the rest were quite good. The dal, which I often feel is a throw-away (particularly on a buffet), was second only to the smokey-buttery goodness served up by Heritage India. The Goa Fish Curry was wonderful, with pieces of tender salmon in a slightly-sweet, very complex curry, on par with Raaga at their peak. The Chicken Makhani was one of the best we've had, with dark meat chicken in a makhani sauce that was deeply layered, rich, with just enough sweetness. The offerings were generous for $10, including chat papri, three types of pakora (spinach, cauliflower and some type of squash), aloo matar, rogan josh, a mixed vegetable curry, galub jamon and carrot halwa (forgive my spelling), along with fresh nann served at the table. We'll definitely be back.

Sounds great! Can't wait to try it. Did you happen to get a sense of whether the weekend buffet is significantly different from the weekday buffet, a la Minerva?

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Did you happen to get a sense of whether the weekend buffet is significantly different from the weekday buffet, a la Minerva?

Unfortunately, I didn't. I can tell you that the price isn't much different, though ($8.95 vs. $9.95), so that would suggest it's not vastly different.

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I walked away from my first meal at Indian City Grill largely unimpressed. Bombay Sapphire gin and tonics are $8.95, and depending on what you order, you may need a couple. The coriander chutney contained enough chiles where I believe it might be made in-house, but I'm less confident about the tamarind chutney, the lemon pickles (no crime there), and the raita, which was watered down.

The chef on Indian City Grill's website is Diwan Singh Chauhan, who came from Connaught Place, but the gentleman running the kitchen on this evening was Daulat Bhandari, who can be seen in this photograph, confidently handling a high-heat wok at Dishes of India, an Alexandria restaurant.

He recommended the Lamb Chops ($17.95), which were masterfully marinaded and grilled. If these lamb chops were the only thing I tried, I would have been thrilled, but the grill-plate also came with large, bland cubes of breast-meat chicken that lacked depth and interest. A terribly overpriced Butter Chicken ($14.95) also came with tasteless, smaller cubes of white meat, and I'm afraid a reheated Dal Makhani had seen better days.

A decent Aloo Paranta ($3.95) was surprisingly griddled (they have a tandoor), and the Lachha Parantha ($2.95) and Naan ($2.95) were both sub-par. Extraordinarily long-grained basmati was dry and clumped together in parts.

An off-night for Indian City Grill? Perhaps so, but on this particular evening, I could have done better at Delhi Dhaba for less money.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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We went to India City Grill for lunch today and were quite impressed. A couple of the dishes were extraordinary, and the rest were quite good. The dal, which I often feel is a throw-away (particularly on a buffet), was second only to the smokey-buttery goodness served up by Heritage India. The Goa Fish Curry was wonderful, with pieces of tender salmon in a slightly-sweet, very complex curry, on par with Raaga at their peak. The Chicken Makhani was one of the best we've had, with dark meat chicken in a makhani sauce that was deeply layered, rich, with just enough sweetness. The offerings were generous for $10, including chat papri, three types of pakora (spinach, cauliflower and some type of squash), aloo matar, rogan josh, a mixed vegetable curry, galub jamon and carrot halwa (forgive my spelling), along with fresh nann served at the table. We'll definitely be back.

Agreed on most counts, as the buffet at our lunch had slightly different dishes than described above. The dal was quite good, smoky and in a thicker sauce than other versions, the chat papri was served in small enough batches to maintain a crunch, and the butter chicken was filled with mixed pieces of dark/white chicken in a robust, rich, and only slightly sweet curry. The spinach was pretty tasteless and the peas in the vegetable curry were mealy (the potatoes, on the other hand, were perfect), but the corn/paneer/onion mix was quite pleasingly novel and the lamb curry was tart-cut richness. Nothing was particularly spicy-hot, but each dish managed to taste at least somewhat different, which is not always the case at a buffet and is greatly appreciated when I find it. The rice was fine and the naan is light and airy, served at the table. You can see the chefs making the naan while you're up at the buffet, and you can also see that they are monitoring the buffet station, which I find reassuring.

The food is already pretty heavy, but if you go and like them, get a mango lassi. They have one of the better versions I've tasted in the area. If it's at all consistent, it's a must - lightly sweet/tangy/creamy and perfectly balanced.

There was a good stream of people in and out while we where there, so not bad for a weekday lunch. The decor is new and innocuous and the service is very good (careful attention to water levels) and friendly. I noticed that the a la carte meals are generally a few dollars more expensive than a few other places in the area that I like, but I think that the lunch buffet, at least, is a good value. I hope Don's dinner experience was an abberation because I like this place!

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