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Spiral Stairs

Delhi Dhaba, Northern Indian Cafeteria and Buffet in Arlington - The DC and Bethesda Locations are Now Closed

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Pursuant to Don's exhortation to post our most recent dining experience, I offer the following commentary on Delhi Dhaba's Bethesda location.

We had the buffet lunch there on Saturday. A massive dog-themed street fair had closed the street (Woodmont), and Delhi Dhaba was one of the few restaurants with enough outdoor seating to accommodate four adults, a child, and an infant. The buffet was small and nondescript, but contained nothing offensive: decent butter chicken; okay tandoori chicken; dal; a potato/pepper dish that was pretty good; palak paneer that was a little light on the paneer (had to go fishing with the ladle). There were a couple other things, but I can't remember what they were. Naan was a bit dry.

I did enjoy the gulab jamun for dessert. It wasn't as sickly-sweet as that dessert (along with many other Indian desserts) often is.

Service was par for the Indian restaurant course: Not what one would call attentive or speedy, but no one punched me in the face.

So, not bad. But since I have to get in my car to go there, I'd veer eastward and head to Woodlands to satisfy my buffet itches every time.

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our most recent dining experience... Delhi Dhaba's Bethesda location....We had the buffet lunch there on Saturday. A massive dog-themed street fair had closed the street...

Oh, nooooooooos!

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I've driven past here dozens of times and thought "hmm what's this place like" Having gone there I can complely affirm Spiral Stairs's review, innofensive (their buffet had 4 kinds of chicken, no lamb or goat.) and service was okay.

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I've driven past here dozens of times and thought "hmm what's this place like" Having gone there I can complely affirm Spiral Stairs's review, innofensive (their buffet had 4 kinds of chicken, no lamb or goat.) and service was okay.

I went about 6 months ago (Clarendon location) and found all of the food to be entirely offensive. Mushy, greasy, and unwanted 'doggy bag' of upset stomach to-go (and I'm used to Indo-Pak food). If you want a good Indian buffet in Arlington, go to Saran on Lee Highway.

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The Van Ness location is hit or miss...but mostly medicore. Some nights middle of the road Indian at a cheap price, enough to cure a hankering for Indian...other nights terrible (mostly waaaaayyyyyyy too salty)

The bang for the buck dish is off the appetizer section, samosas with chana topped with chutneys...at $5.50 it is a meal by itself.

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DD is not what it used to be (Arlington location at least). Seems like the prices went up, portions and quality of the food went down. Too much sauce, not enough meat....agree, naan was pretty dry. I prefer to call in for a take out to other places around my area, better deal and more food.

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^ No improved updates for the Arlington location. I am sad to report that the Vegetarian Samosa recipe seems to have changed for the worse. Hrm.

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When I walked past the Van Ness location tonight, it was dark with a sign in the window that said "Dehli Dhaba will close Sept 30th"

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When I walked past the Van Ness location tonight, it was dark with a sign in the window that said "Dehli Dhaba will close Sept 30th"

Confirmed by DCist, replaced by a retailer.

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Sorry to hear about a cafe closing, that is a gamble that all to often ends in failure. I visit the Arlington DD every couple months, but I usually hit the weekend buffet. The butter chicken is pretty darned good, the saag is good, the naan is tasty, fresh and hot. The lamb is hit or miss, I think I spotted goat a time or two but it was only ok. The achar is very good and the indian videos are the right backdrop for an indian feast. It isn't fancy but it hits the spot in a very nice sort of way.

This is a solid neighborhood spot, it isn't a great meal, it is simply a rather good one, and enjoyable as it is.

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no wonder they were out of samosas the last time we ordered out...seriously how can an Indian restaurant be out of samosas??? We did notice that they had business cards for a Indian restaurant on Wisconsin...but the only reason we went to Delhi Dhaba was the convenience of it being two blocks from our apartment, certainly not the quality of the food!

Guess we will have to try Indian Ocean next time we need a curry fix.

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I'll be honest. I've never been a fan of Delhi Dhaba, but at the same time I wouldn't like to see more empty storefronts and restaurants in the neighborhood. We already have the two vacant spaces that were formerly KFC/Taco Bell and Green Apples. Granted the situation is much worse in Cleveland Park down the street, but turnover of restaurants (at least as long as I've been in the neighborhood) has always been high in the Van Ness area. I'm rooting for the new kid on the block--Acacia Bistro--and would encourage neighbors or those on their way to or from Politics and Prose or errands to stop by for a glass of wine and light bite.

P.S.@Tweaked, I'm having some succcess at Indian Ocean with some veggie dishes (my favorite is aloo palak - spinach w/ potatoes), so you might give it a try.

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We did notice that they had business cards for a Indian restaurant on Wisconsin...

It wasn't "Masala Art," by any chance? An Indian restaurant by that name appears to be opening on the block south of the Tenleytown metro, in the space formerly occupied by Kuma. Not a fan of Delhi Dhaba either, so I'm hoping they're not related.

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The business card had a much more generic name on it like Bombay Cafe or something. Can't remember exactly

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Disappointing meal last night at the Arlington location, even given my low expectations. The Palak Paneer and Aloo Chole were too creamy and under-seasoned...both tasted watery and bland. Naan was dry. Rice was fluffy and probably the best bite of food. Delivery took 45 minutes, which was ok given it was rainy and they were probably busy.

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I've been noticing them doing construction on the roof of Delhi Dhaba in Arlington, almost like they're adding a rooftop level? But that seems odd.

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Sad to see the demise of any restaurant. There was a time--maybe fifteen years ago--when Delhi Dhaba (Bethesda) was our go-to for Indian carry-out. In fact, that was their claim to fame, as most of their business was for good, inexpensive food that you could pick up on the run and take home after a tiring day at work. Butter chicken was their specialty and it was, for the times, quite good. If you wanted sit-down Indian, the fancier and much more expensive Haandi was the way to go. Around the time Barnes and Nobles took up residence on the corner and that block got a major facelift, DD changed their image and brought out the tablecloths....and in my opinion, began to go downhill. Prices went up and food quality remained the same or maybe even slipped a bit, and the funky old Delhi Dhaba that almost defined good "cheap eats" could never really compete at the next level.

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I've been noticing them doing construction on the roof of Delhi Dhaba in Arlington, almost like they're adding a rooftop level? But that seems odd.

Sad to see the demise of any restaurant.

Just in case anyone construes this tandem of posts to mean the Arlington location is closed - it isn't; it's open tonight until 10 PM, as usual. :angry:

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I was looking at the construction at Delhi Dhaba last weekend and I think that maybe they are going to use the space upstairs for special functions, because it doesn't look like it would work too well for the cafe to have more than the current 1 1/2 levels. I like this place, it isn't the best indian food, but you get a lot of well prepared, albeit mildly seasoned, dishes. I used to LOVE the butter chicken, and it is still good, but either I am jaded or they have tuned the spicing down. The achar/pickle is good, the spinach dishes are excellent, the naan is good when hot, hmmm... it is lunch time... :angry:

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Delhi Dhaba is right down the street from my office in Courthouse, so I may go there once every few months to get my quick Indian fix. I will not, however, be returning any time soon, and it has nothing to do with the food (which has always been pretty good to me).

When I went last time, I got the carryout special (one meat, rice, two sides for $13.99). As I was waiting them to make my food, I noticed that they had a dine in special (one meat, rice, two sides AND naan for $9.99). So, for $4 less, you get to not only eat in the restaurant, but you also get naan!? Does that make sense to anyone?

I thought about it a lot that day and tried to understand how they could justify the price difference. Carryout causes them to have to use some more packaging, but eating in means that they have to clean the restaurant more often. People that carryout are less likely to order a drink, but people that order in are also more likely to be a pain in the ass.

Whatever. I realized that I was dumb to ponder this for so long that day (why am I wasting my time!?), and just decided to not go there anymore. It may seem kind of petty for me to not go to an establishment because they are terrible at pricing their offerings, but it irks me enough to go elsewhere for Indian food if I want it.

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When I used to go to the Delhi Dhaba near Van Ness before it closed, the take out portions for the special were significantly larger than the eat-in portions.

Might just be that simple.

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Had the 2 item w/rice take out from Dheli dhaba today.  At $6.50...why not.  Mixed veggies  okay.   Goat...not okay.  

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The Arlington location was my first Indian restaurant experience.  I had the butter chicken and have been in love with that dish ever since.

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