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Haandi, Northern Indian in Falls Plaza Shopping Center on Route 7 in Falls Church

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IggI -- please share what you ordered. (I'm curious, and not criticizing what you wrote)

I'm equidistant from Haandi and Cafe Taj. The latter usually offers a 10% off coupon, not to mention that I think their curry is very tasty, so I've always gone there. Seems like I should expand my horizons...

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IggI -- please share what you ordered. (I'm curious, and not criticizing what you wrote)

I'm equidistant from Haandi and Cafe Taj. The latter usually offers a 10% off coupon, not to mention that I think their curry is very tasty, so I've always gone there. Seems like I should expand my horizons...

Haandi (at least the one in Falls Church) is better than Café Taj. My "standard comfort order" there is Palak Paneer, Chole with Potatoes (don't remember what they call it), a large Raita, a plain Naan, and 2-3 little tubs of pickles (gratis). Dump an order of rice in the bottom of a mixing bowl, then pour about 2/3 of each entree on top of that, side-by-side, then pour about 2/3 of the raita on top (*after* microwaving it if it needs reheating before serving - you don't want to heat the raita). Add pickles last-minute around the side of the bowl, being careful not to mix them in because they disappear and are so strong that they're vile as anything more than an occasional taste break. It's not always perfect, but it's good, vegetarian (if not low-calorie, which it most certainly isn't) comfort food that is very satisfying when you're craving non-exotic Indian. Give this a try, following these instructions letter-for-letter, and make sure to get an extra order of rice so you can have the rest of the entrees for a small lunch the next day (you should receive two containers of rice since there are two entrees). You may not "love" it, but I see almost no way you'll hate it. The spinach, chole (chickpeas), and potatoes are a very satisfying trio, and when mixed with the other condiments, become really pleasurable. Finally, drizzle a bit of tamarind (purple, sweet) and coriander (green, savory) chutneys atop of everything for just a bit more taste, but don't use too much, and once again, save about 1/3 of everything for the next day. Also, do not soak the bread in the dish - keep it dry for the occasional bite (tear off a small piece, and pinch an occasional piece of paneer in it for variation). Wrap the rest of it back in the foil and do not refrigerate any of this overnight - it will be fine 18 hours later at room temperature if you seal the bag back tightly. This is a one-bowl dish that's very easy to clean - if the remnants become cold and dry, just soak the mixing bowl in soapy water for an hour and it comes right off. Do this exact thing and I think you'll be quite happy.

I would be both curious and honored if people were to try this, letter-for-letter, with full, honest feedback. And please remember to recycle.

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IggI -- please share what you ordered. (I'm curious, and not criticizing what you wrote)

I'm equidistant from Haandi and Cafe Taj. The latter usually offers a 10% off coupon, not to mention that I think their curry is very tasty, so I've always gone there. Seems like I should expand my horizons...

Salmon curry, chicken makhini, chicken tikka masala, the eggplant dish, and a lamb vindaloo. I think that was it. There may have been a tandori but I can't remember for sure. We had a couple of different naan (but none of them were that spectacular).

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I would be both curious and honored if people were to try this, letter-for-letter, with full, honest feedback. And please remember to recycle.

I am curious, and I will TOTALLY do this the next time we get Indian food. Then we start the Indian restaurant DR challenge, where we do this with every place and chart the results.

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It's still got paper over the windows. Maybe this month sometime?

Still not open. Walked by day before yesterday. My guess is January.

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Tonight, my husband and I kicked off a bittersweet culinary journey. We currently live in Eastern Market, and over the past 10 years, one or both of us have lived in Falls Church, McLean, Alexandria, Crystal City, Pentagon City, and 12th and M NW. If all goes according to plan, in the next few months, we will be moving to Maryland--perhaps Crofton, where I have family, perhaps Silver Spring, perhaps Laurel, perhaps Takoma Park. We are looking forward to having a nice home with a nice yard, and plenty of space for the two of us...plus another someone on the way. (This is too early to be FB news, but I'm happy to spill the beans to this wonderful group of semi-anonymous folks.) We are really excited about moving, but we are also going to miss living in DC more than I can say.

One of the ways we are saying goodbye to this neighborhood and the neighborhoods we've lived in over the years is to take a culinary farewell tour of sorts. I proposed this to Steve tonight, and he could not have been more enthusiastic about the idea. Starting this weekend, we are making a point to go to all the places we love that we probably won't be going to again, at least for a while. Not fancy places, not special occasion places where we'll want to go for anniversaries and birthdays and other "let's splurge for a sitter" nights, but the dozens of places that feel like OUR places. The places that--even though they aren't close to our current home--are our neighborhood restaurants.

We kicked off this farewell tour with Haandi in Falls Church. We had a delicious meal of Baigan Bharta (eggplant, bell pepper, tomatoes and wonderful spices), Rogan Josh (really tender lamb in a creamy sauce with cinnamon and nutmeg), salad, and that wonderful saffron rice with peas. The service was friendly, and I was so glad to see that Haandi was packed. This was the perfect place to begin this project--a warm and comforting restaurant where you know you're going to be satisfied and treated well.

Being there reminded me of the days when I lived a few blocks down Route 7 in a town house with five other ladies who have proven to be my best friends in this area. Re-telling stories about living in that crazy group house was half the fun of the dinner tonight. And I'm thinking that's the way this whole farewell tour is going to go. Because some of the best memories I've had in DC and VA happened in restaurants, with good friends, with my dear husband, and even with some lousy dates. The tastes and smells of familiar favorite places always brings back those memories.

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We are looking forward to having a nice home with a nice yard, and plenty of space for the two of us...plus another someone on the way. (This is too early to be FB news, but I'm happy to spill the beans to this wonderful group of semi-anonymous folks.)

:)

Tonight was *very* close to being a "Say hi next time!"

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Last night, after many a moon, ordered take out. I had not forgotten how pleasant the staff is and how terrific their food is but it has been several years (why?). A nice reminder as to what a great option the Haandi is for locals, esp with six hungry mouths to feed Sat nite. The place was packed at 6 pm when I picked up our order and the large order was exactly as requested. Which is not so predictable these days.

The usual suspects proved yet again very good: daal (asked for it extra hot and it was), bengan bharta (delicious eggplant mixture), methi chooza (a very tasty chicken concoction), ghost masala (lamb - delightful), methi paratha (specialty naan), papadam, raita, chutney. You get the drill. We six slobs devoured every speck of sauce, protein & rice w/out a trace remaining on chair, flooring or cheeks.

The only meh comment was seekh kebab tandoor - ground beef tandoori kebab. I personally liked this but others felt it was dull and the odd shaped kebab off putting. But, hey, what would not taste "bland" after chowing down on the parade of delicious curries and spices?

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It really is a dump.  Standing at the counter and looking at the menu, if it had not been for 20 or more people filling every seat at ten at night I wouldn't have given the place a second thought.  Let alone walked in the door.  After we walked in we read the menu over and over not really understanding, not even have heard of some of the dishes.  Frankly, I'd never heard of Hyderabadi Indian before.  Nor had I heard of Balti before eating my way through Manchester's Akbar.  It also never occurred to me that we should order biryani in a restaurant which had this as part of its name.

Sometimes I really don't think.

Don, the best biryani I have ever had was ten or so years ago when Bhatia was still at Zaika and he did a flaky puffed pastry crust on top of his biryani.  My wife still insists it is the best Indian dish of any kind that she has ever had.

But it never occurred to me that we should order Biryani here.

We only had a few dishes although the absolute star was the methi paneer.  Well....the other two were exceptional also.  This just seems like a whole different, more sophisticated level of regional Indian cuisine that D. C. has not had before.  I also believe that there is now a large enough of a native or second generation population that there is now a demand and expectation for something this well done.

I also noted that @ 10:15 when we left not only were the twenty seats still filled but another half dozen people had come and gone while we waited picking up carry out orders.  Remarkable.  I wondered if they had a Rose's Luxury like line out the door at 7:00?

Someone else needs to go.  We also need to go back (and order biryani among other dishes!).  And the methi paneer again.  Exquisitely delicious.

Addendum:  I am not overstating the throat blistering nature of some of this.  I must note that it is worth the burn.

Well, I certainly wish I'd tried Biryani House in Herndon last night - after many months of loyalty to Curry Mantra 2 (now closed), I gave Haandi another try last night after probably two years, and it was just as I'd feared.

They finallly got a new website (warning: same annoying, slightly addicting, music), and I thought I'd try something I'd never had there: From the Mughlai section of their menu (from my experience, ordering Southern Indian from a Northern Indian restaurant is nearly always a mistake), I tried a Dum Ki Biryani ($16.95), asking them specifically if they could use light oil (remembering having received oily rice dishes here in the past), and they said sure. There was nothing blatantly "wrong" with the Biryani, other than being somewhat over-oiled, coaxing me to use a spoon instead of a fork because I was so confident I wouldn't lose any rice. The chunks of chicken and lamb - perhaps three each - were very good (this is the Northern portion of the restaurant speaking), but for $16.95, I need more than this, and felt like I was primarily eating a bowl of heavy rice. There were nice surprises here and there - ginger, sliced almonds, perhaps a tiny bit of fruit, the occasional pod, but adding some raita and tamarind and coriander chutneys only made this wetter and busier, forcing me to dash to the microwave a couple of times to prop up the heat.

I suspect in all my life, I've never had a truly world-class biryani (I can picture how it would be, and it makes me swoon), but I *have* had great biryani, and Haandi's isn't it - Haandi is best at serving "chunks of meat" - the chicken and the lamb, for example, that were in my biryani were fine - moist and delicious. I wish I'd read this thread before committing - A Saturday-evening commitment to Herndon is not at all daunting for me, and it would have been worth the trip.

A thought just popped into my head: Is there any historical relationship at all between biryani and paella? Southern Indian cuisine was heavily influenced by the Portuguese, and vice-versa, so it seems plausible. I still remember the best paella I've ever eaten: a home-cooked version helmed by Janet Cam and about five of her friends - they were cooking for almost two days, and produced the largest circular tray of food I've ever seen in my life. It was just about perfect, and was one of the greatest things I've ever eaten.

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I had a great combination briyani at Haandi this evening.  Chicken, lamb and vegetables.  The meat was so moist, all the flavors were really good, the rice was perfect, it had good texture and seasoning and I liked the amount of vegetable it had in it.  It was maybe the best briyani I have had, although I haven't had tons of briyani so it isn't a huge sample size.  This is the first Indian food I have had since returning from India and it was a good place to get back on the wagon (although I think it will be a while before I will eat a samosa, chicken curry or paranthas.)  I also got their salad, which is just iceberg, lettuce and tomatoes- nothing special, but I was feeling the need for some veggies.  Matt got a chicken and spinach dish that was good, but not near as good as the briyani.  We also had some plain naan, which was good, as well.  

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Went the other evening and had chicken briyani and Hubby had a chicken and spinach dish, the leftover of which were very good with my leftover briyani.  I wanted to get something non-briyani, but their briyani is just so good, that I just couldn't order something else.

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Haandi is in our semi-regular carryout rotation. We find it consistent and satisfying. I don't know much about competitors in the area that you might compare it to but it works for us. 

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Was at Haandi last week for some curry and biryani (I like the mixed veg, meat one).  I like the menu here, it has a few different things.  This will be one of the places we really miss when we move, as it isn't too far away from us now, but will just be in a too far, awkward location later.

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Many thanks to those who posted above about how good the takeout at Haandi is. We were craving Indian food the other night and infant bedtimes meant takeout was in the cards. After some quick searching through the forums it was an easy decision. Lamb vindaloo, chicken biryani and a stuffed naan. All great! We even had leftovers for the next day.

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On 1/26/2019 at 3:03 PM, horacebailey14 said:

Many thanks to those who posted above about how good the takeout at Haandi is. We were craving Indian food the other night and infant bedtimes meant takeout was in the cards. After some quick searching through the forums it was an easy decision. Lamb vindaloo, chicken biryani and a stuffed naan. All great! We even had leftovers for the next day.

[Comments like this make running this website worthwhile.]

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