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Curry Leaf - Chef Saravan "Sam" Krishnan in Laurel Shopping Center on Route 1 and Cypress Street


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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.

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Can you expound upon the Laurel lunch options?  I don't find Curry Leaf better than the other Indian options, and miss Asahi (which it replaced).  Laurel is a restaurant wasteland in my opinion.

Well, not all are in Laurel, but within an acceptable drive. My current lunch rotation (I'm only out that way about 4 times a month) includes:

Pasta Plus

RG's BBQ Cafe

Pho 88

Da Rae Won

Taqueria La Veracruzana

I tried Gourmet Shish Kebab a couple times...once good, once not so much. 

What other Indian options, btw? I tried Sapphire off 197 a couple years ago, and have seen no reason to go back since.  Are there others worth checking out?

And if you think Laurel is a restaurant wasteland, try finding anything worth eating in Upper Marlboro.  3 years in, and I'm still searching.

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Hmm, I thought the 197 one was on par if not better than Curry Leaf, but it's been a couple years.  Looks like the one on the corner of Cherry and Rt 1 is gone, it was better.  I can't recall the name of it though.  Looks like Mango Grill, which Walgreens killed, is in that spot.  It was good at the old location so that's good news.

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Well, not all are in Laurel, but within an acceptable drive. My current lunch rotation (I'm only out that way about 4 times a month) includes:

Pasta Plus

RG's BBQ Cafe

Pho 88

Da Rae Won

Taqueria La Veracruzana

I tried Gourmet Shish Kebab a couple times...once good, once not so much. 

What other Indian options, btw? I tried Sapphire off 197 a couple years ago, and have seen no reason to go back since.  Are there others worth checking out?

And if you think Laurel is a restaurant wasteland, try finding anything worth eating in Upper Marlboro.  3 years in, and I'm still searching.

Beltsville is becoming a little mom-n-pop mecca - it's supported by beltway traffic much more handsomely than Laurel.

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Agree that Rte 1 in Beltsville is up and coming -- Yia Yia's Kitchen, Swahili Village, and, of course, Sardi's.  Dined at Curry Leaf. Had the Haleem. Somewhat disappointed in how bland it was.  My fault for not ordering properly, I guess, but I'm glad I tried it.

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This is my Sunday spot. The buffet on weekends is outstanding, it's 2 dollars more then during the week. But that nets you 3 dessert choices and different breads. I personally think the Haleem is my favorite but can see how it might get boring if that's all I ate. The chicken tikka masala is not murdered and dry like most places and they have tons of vegetarian choices, for 12.95 a person it can't be beat.

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I have been at least 5 times since they opened, most of the time by myself with a good book because I live literally a block away, lol and it's some of the best Indian food I've had in the DC area. One of the most noticeable things to me, which JoshNE already pointed out is that unlike other lunch buffets in the area, the food here is not swimming in grease (okay, he said ghee, but frankly, my stomach can only discern grease). I recently went back to a place on Cherry Hill that I used to frequent (not sure if that's Beltsville or Silver Spring) and pretty immediately regretted it. Curry Leaf offers really tasty food, a very large selection, and great service at a reasonable price. And while there are always some standards, the dishes rotate constantly so I am always finding new favorites. They even offer a flavored rice in addition to the plain white rice, which also rotates. If you go, make sure to try the spicy soup.

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Ate here without having read the TS review, ordered the goat curry because I am a sucker for goat.  While the flavor was good, every single piece of goat had major gristle/cartilage and/or shards of bone. If I had known about the Udupi Palace connection, I would have stuck with the vegetarian menu...

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OK carry out report.

Their rice is good, but not exemplary. Sapphire, a nearby Inidian place, was legendary in my mind for their rice before they lost whatever chef/cook was making it for them, Now? Curry Leaf in Laurel makes a pretty good replacement, but it is not Sapphire circa 2007 to 2011.

Garlic Naan. Solid and good.

Chicken Biryani - absolutely delicious. Spicy, but not toooooooo spicy. A Treat

Lamb Karahi - this provided less 'gravy' than I expected, but made up for it in the well treated peppers and especially onions. And the quantity of lamb for the dish price was quite awesome.

One of these days I will try some of their specialties, like their egg curry.

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Most of our house and definitely our kitchen is out of commission due to foundation repairs being done (yes inside our house), so we're dining on carry out. A lot.

Tonight was Curry Leaf.

I opted for their Butter Chicken this time. The sauce was tremendous. This is not a spicy dish as you probably know, but this was pulled off with finesse and layers of flavor. I could slurp this down by the quart. The only side note is that the folks at Curry Leaf are not more rigorous of the chicken they put in to this. a few gristly and gnarly bits this time around. It makes *me* personally happy that they are using all of th chicken, even the gnarly buts which is where some of that flavor comes from, BUT I can imagine some folks freaking out a bit. Please do not change, but I thought I would mention it for the people who only want perfect cubes of boneless skinless chicken product. Another comment is that I think their rice can be slightly aggressive at times on the perceived heat front. I am ok with this, but I prefer to couple the aggression with milder aromatic bits in the rice (whole cloves maybe?).

Clearly I am nitpicking here, but information is information and that's what this place is all about.

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I ordered carryout for dinner for the first time earlier this week (until now, I have only gone to Curry Leaf for the lunch buffet) and unfortunately I have to report that I was disappointed overall. The chicken tikka masala was a giant oil slick and yet, the chicken itself was dry and sparse. I don't have any complaints about the aloo ghobi except that I asked if it was possible to make it with only cauliflower since I'm trying to cut back on the starch a bit and he said he would check, but then didn't and I got the regular thing. Not a big deal, but figured I'd mention it. The aloo tikki chaat appetizer was a first for me, 3 small potato cakes filled with a lentil and pea mixture and served in a chickpea curry. I really enjoyed this, but was disappointed to find that they had neglected to include one of the sauces, the mint chutney, which is imo the best one (the others that are included are the tamarind sauce and the raita). Overall, I was just unimpressed with the quality and quantity given how much I spent (almost $40 including a $3 tip). I think Curry Leaf is unfortunately going to remain a lunch buffet staple for me only.

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I ordered carryout for dinner for the first time earlier this week (until now, I have only gone to Curry Leaf for the lunch buffet) and unfortunately I have to report that I was disappointed overall. The chicken tikka masala was a giant oil slick and yet, the chicken itself was dry and sparse. I don't have any complaints about the aloo ghobi except that I asked if it was possible to make it with only cauliflower since I'm trying to cut back on the starch a bit and he said he would check, but then didn't and I got the regular thing. Not a big deal, but figured I'd mention it. The aloo tikki chaat appetizer was a first for me, 3 small potato cakes filled with a lentil and pea mixture and served in a chickpea curry. I really enjoyed this, but was disappointed to find that they had neglected to include one of the sauces, the mint chutney, which is imo the best one (the others that are included are the tamarind sauce and the raita). Overall, I was just unimpressed with the quality and quantity given how much I spent (almost $40 including a $3 tip). I think Curry Leaf is unfortunately going to remain a lunch buffet staple for me only.

Sounds like an off day for the chicken tikka masala. Too bad, but every restaurant has its ups and downs. It sounds like you actually liked the other two dishes but for the fact that they did not customize one, and forgot to include one of the sauces. Or did those two things just add insult to the injury of the messed up chicken?

FWIW, I usually avoid chicken dishes at Indian places most of the time because chicken can easily dry out - lamb is much more forgiving.

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Sounds like an off day for the chicken tikka masala. Too bad, but every restaurant has its ups and downs. It sounds like you actually liked the other two dishes but for the fact that they did not customize one, and forgot to include one of the sauces. Or did those two things just add insult to the injury of the messed up chicken?

FWIW, I usually avoid chicken dishes at Indian places most of the time because chicken can easily dry out - lamb is much more forgiving.

Yes, the other 2 dishes were fine although some of the cauliflower in the aloo ghobi was undercooked because the pieces were larger than others, but nothing was outstanding and the chicken was a total disappointment, because of the dried out meat, the overly oily sauce and the small quantity of chicken swimming in the oil slick. Overall, it just wasn't anything close to a $40 meal.

As for chicken drying out quickly, I've had the chicken tikka masala in the buffet many many times and have never found the chicken dry so I think it's pretty safe to say this was a problem with the kitchen. I did notice that the chicken had holes in it from being skewered and seemed to be small pieces of white meat chicken. I've never noticed that with the buffet chicken and if I recall correctly, remember the chicken in the buffet being pieces of dark meat chicken. Perhaps they feel that the white meat is an "upgrade" for the dinner orders, when really precooking small pieces of white meat chicken in some manner ahead of time (tandoori maybe?) and then putting it in the sauce results in much drier meat than dark meat pieces that have been braised in the sauce. This is pure speculation on my part, but I'm pretty sure my memory is correct on the differences in the meat between the buffet and the entree.

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I made it back here today.  I frequent several area Indian lunch buffets, and this visit sealed it--this one is by far the best.  Just greater depth of flavor in every dish, and variety.  Put gulab jamun up instead of rice pudding and I will come every day.  No not really.

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I had another great buffet lunch at Curry leaf. They have dishes at their buffet I've never had before: hard boiled egg curry, . Raghda patties with a channa masala, kadhi pakoras which were these vegetables dumplings in sour curry sauce. Their mango kulfi for desert is also really good. 

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Does anyone know if they do their buffet ever on the weekend?

Yep, both Sat and Sun.

I don't think to post in here, but I continue to go for the lunch buffet regularly and I am astonished that I am STILL discovering new items each time I go. There are some dishes that are always constant (the soups are always generally the same, there's always tandoori chicken and chicken tikka masala, etc.), but many change and it's not often that I see repeats until after several visits. The food continues to be delicious and the service is attentive. I love that this place is so close (although my waistline does not).

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Had carryout from here again and was pleased to see that the dining room had more than a few people in it on a weeknight.

Their lamb roganjush is quite tasty, but this go around there was a smidgen too much rendered fat in the dish. Not off-putting since all you need to do is mix it up a bit, but noticeable.  Their rice seems to be cooked with cumin seed methinks. Not bad, but not really noteworthy rice.

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On 11/22/2014 at 9:14 PM, soapy said:

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

I need to remember this. It's been a while since we took in some excellent Curry Leaf. Must rectify that soon.

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zThere is chatter on y neighborhood email that seems to think two things : 1) Someone seems confirmed by some, not by me - that they are closed for renovations, and 2) that some or all of the chefs from Curry Leaf departed to open up or move to other spaces/

Another person dug this up and noted that the named (on this thread currently) have moved to a place across from the Marlo furniture place called Amber Spice. Note the chef name - the same right? Not sure if it is temporary or permanent.

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