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Indigo, GM Dinesh and Chef Nidhi Tandon's Home-Style Indian on 3rd and K Street NE in NOMA


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Indigo is not cheap but it's worth it. Limited seating inside but a great patio for beautiful days like today (not sure what they'll do in cold weather "“ I guess more people will carry out). Very friendly and warm service. Family-owned and "“operated, and you can tell (in a good way).

I had lunch here for the third time today and ordered the mango chicken for the second time. The first time I ordered it I didn't realize it was a special. I was disappointed that it wasn't available the second time I visited, but I ordered the butter chicken, which was also delicious. But the mango chicken is not something I often see on menus in the area (or anywhere for that matter), and I love it. Thinking back, I can't remember if the chalkboard menu described it as spicy (it may have?). What I got was definitely not spicy, and I wouldn't have minded some spice to counteract the sweetness of the mango. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed this dish. The chickpeas (chana masala?) served on the side, often an afterthought in other restaurants, were delicious as well with a deep flavor. My dining companion ordered dal, which I can usually take or leave, but this dal was amazing, smoky and complex. I could have eaten a big bowl of this dal with some rice and been satisfied.

My dining companion is a native of Bombay/Mumbai and says this is as good as the best home cooking he had growing up. I'm not as much of a connoisseur (I ate Indian food for the first time in college), but I also love the food here!

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I believe they serve at least beer and wine. I think I saw beer taps and a sign about wine.

Can confirm. I live on 3rd and G NE, straight south of here, and try to hit them up as much as I can. My blurb about Indigo in BYT:

"H St. was seriously lacking solid Indian food (Cusbah's fine, I guess), so Indigo's opening in late 2013 marked the shop's long-awaited transition from food truck to brick and mortar. This truly is a mom and pop joint "“ the hand-written chalkboard menu changes daily, and lists not only their outstanding authentic Indian street food (all based upon traditional family recipes), but also cute, funny notes from the owners to their kids. Kind of cheesy? Yup. The type of shit I love about locally-owned small businesses? Absolutely. Standout dishes include the spicy Chicken Saag, with (approximately) eight pounds of spinach wilted in with the chicken, and the Goat Curry, a deep, ridiculously heady blend of tender goat and a house-ground spice mix. Can't decide? Go with the Thaali platter that allows you to select five different meat or vegetable options. Tons of vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well, and a dope patio perfect for weeknight lounging. This place rules."

Don (and all), would highly recommend you check it out ASAP.

Cheers!

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Indigo embodies what I try to support.  lhollers is spot on, too.  dracisk I guess is right, it's not cheap, but what's cheap nowadays that isn't a guilty pleasure?  The operators are involved in their community, particularly at the neighborhood school where their daughter (and mine) attend.  

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I was writing from the perspective of it not being your $10 work lunch, but it's sooooo much better than the $10 options. I was more than happy to pay my $17 yesterday (in addition to the mango chicken I also got some prantha, which they were more than happy to make for me without onion and cilantro), especially since I only buy my lunch at work once or twice a month.

P.S. That's very cool that the owners live and are involved in the neighborhood -- I didn't know that.

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You know you are in the "circle of trust" if your friend takes you to Indigo.  Someone who might stop in out of curiosity might immediately be on the fence about the place and would very likely move on, because the wait is Toki-esque and the prices start at around $12 from what I can tell.  Very few people would call this a destination spot, especially considering the location, but if you plated their platters on nice porcelain and sold this downtown, it would easily go for twice what they charge here.

Last night I stopped in for a "quick" meal at around 7:45pm and the line was not unlike the ones at the Greek Deli.  I placed my order in at 7:51 and didn't get it until 8:35, luckily I had ordered a tall lager for my wait.  During my wait, the line never receded, and the phone was constantly blowing up with orders for four people.

As I people watched, I realized the best part is that EVERYONE goes to Indigo.  No young pretty people on date night, the owner has a huge portrait of his young daughter on the wall so that would be a weird first date setting.  There was a couple stealing kisses outdoor on the patio as they waited, as well as a six-top of 50-somethings enjoying each other's company.  A dark-toned woman in her 60s also stood patiently in line.  The young, the old, all races, all backgrounds, and it is the most casual vibe I can think of.  Sure, there are TVs, but to my eye it's Bollywood background and so everyone is just talking with their friends.  Everyone is wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, it's cramped, and no one is complaining about wait times or whatever.

I ordered the spicy chicken with rice and chickpeas, the chickpeas could use a little more bite to them to my taste but otherwise it is very very good food for $14.

Everyone knows how hard it is for a small business to survive, their location is way off the beaten map, but if you build value they will come.  When a small restaurant closes shop, I expect to soon read the posts of how everyone liked it and how everyone intended to stop in there more often, and how much they will miss the place.  Well, if this place closes then it will be a large tear in the fabric of this neighborhood, as the Starbucks and the Nando's continue to build out new storefronts on H Street.   
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You know you are in the "circle of trust" if your friend takes you to Indigo.  Someone who might stop in out of curiosity might immediately be on the fence about the place and would very likely move on, because the wait is Toki-esque and the prices start at around $12 from what I can tell.  Very few people would call this a destination spot, especially considering the location, but if you plated their platters on nice porcelain and sold this downtown, it would easily go for twice what they charge here.

Last night I stopped in for a "quick" meal at around 7:45pm and the line was not unlike the ones at the Greek Deli.  I placed my order in at 7:51 and didn't get it until 8:35, luckily I had ordered a tall lager for my wait.  During my wait, the line never receded, and the phone was constantly blowing up with orders for four people.

As I people watched, I realized the best part is that EVERYONE goes to Indigo.  No young pretty people on date night, the owner has a huge portrait of his young daughter on the wall so that would be a weird first date setting.  There was a couple stealing kisses outdoor on the patio as they waited, as well as a six-top of 50-somethings enjoying each other's company.  A dark-toned woman in her 60s also stood patiently in line.  The young, the old, all races, all backgrounds, and it is the most casual vibe I can think of.  Sure, there are TVs, but to my eye it's Bollywood background and so everyone is just talking with their friends.  Everyone is wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, it's cramped, and no one is complaining about wait times or whatever.

I ordered the spicy chicken with rice and chickpeas, the chickpeas could use a little more bite to them to my taste but otherwise it is very very good food for $14.

Everyone knows how hard it is for a small business to survive, their location is way off the beaten map, but if you build value they will come.  When a small restaurant closes shop, I expect to soon read the posts of how everyone liked it and how everyone intended to stop in there more often, and how much they will miss the place.  Well, if this place closes then it will be a large tear in the fabric of this neighborhood, as the Starbucks and the Nando's continue to build out new storefronts on H Street.   

Say hi next time. We eat there more than is healthy, but also use it to round out home-cooked meals.  Last night I stopped in just to pick up some parathas and raita to augment a vegan curry dish we made from Purple Carrot.  It really is a true "neighborhood" place, and I hope it continues to be wildly successful for years to come.  I'll miss it dearly when we leave.

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As I people watched, I realized the best part is that EVERYONE goes to Indigo.  . . . The young, the old, all races, all backgrounds, and it is the most casual vibe I can think of. 

It really is a true "neighborhood" place, and I hope it continues to be wildly successful for years to come.  I'll miss it dearly when we leave.

This.

As a supporting anecdote, I coach baseball on Capitol Hill; the boys are 13 and 14 and, as little dudes of that age often do, tend to discuss things across a randomly broad range of topics. At practice last week, I overheard them discussing, of all things, Indigo. I jumped in and we proceeded to have a detailed discussion of our favorite items on the menu. Then a few parents overheard us and THEY joined the conversation, adding what they loved. This place transcends boundaries and has been an excellent, albeit relatively unknown (fingers crossed), addition to Capitol Hill.

Cheers!

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For the reasons above, this place is special. I don't know how to say it, other than it was enchanting. Love the chalkboard menu, the random writing on the walls, the friendly service, the extremely diverse clientele, the little containers of aachar, the whimsical colors.

Food was legit, though the goat had a lot of fat on it.

There is something magical about this place, if you could bottle it up and sell it, every one who owns a neighborhood restaurant would buy that tincture. 

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I love this place.

I had lunch at Indigo today. I was hoping to have the mango chicken I’ve had in the past, but they didn’t have it, so I resisted the urge to order butter chicken, which I love but is widely available, and ordered something I’ve never had or even seen on a restaurant menu, dhansak chicken. It was delicious! I can't do justice to describing it, but it was very tender pieces of chicken in a mellow yellow sauce with lentils. According to my Mumbaikar dining companion (the same friend from a few posts up), this is a Parsi dish frequently made with beef or lamb. He was very impressed with it, as he was with everything on his plate (three vegetarian dishes, including an excellent rendition of palak paneer in which the spinach flavor really came through – maybe they’re a little less heavy with the cream than other places?).

The restaurant was not that crowded, which surprised me. They were certainly doing good business, but they weren’t bursting at the gills like they have been on my previous visits. The patrons, as Simul noted above, were quite diverse, which I agree is nice to see. Among them were quite a few Indians who appeared to be from India (not Indian-Americans), maybe looking for a taste of home. My Mumbaikar friend isn’t generally very interested in restaurants and particularly not Indian ones (since he can get excellent Indian cooking at home from his mom, who lives with him), but I think he likes this place as much as I do. I don't eat out much at work, but I'm supposed to have lunch with another friend in a couple of weeks, and I might suggest Indigo again.

IMG_20160518_114537.jpg

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35 minutes ago, DaRiv18 said:

Lots of updates on their Facebook page recently.  They will soon open a second location in Brookland.  And, they are featured in the Michelin Guide for 2017!

This is awesome.

Went back last Wednesday night, and it was packed inside and out. Few open seats outside at the picnic tables, but it was, admittedly, a bit chilly. Overordered as always (goat curry, spicy keema curry, masala chicken, and karahi chicken...and roti and palaak paneer and daal), and saw a really cool interaction: the owner (whom I've seen there many times, but never actually met) was greeting people, expediting, checking in, etc. ... the usual stuff. A deaf couple walked in, and he immediately went over and started signing and making sure they were taken care of. Maybe ASL is just way more prevalent than I ever knew, or maybe he has a deaf family member, but I'm always so, so impressed when business owners on H St. do this. The proximity to Gallaudet means a lot of deaf customers - showing them that you care and want them to feel comfortable is always awesome to see.

Wishing this family ALL the success.

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