January 2004 Haandi

Haandi represents the middle ground of fine Indian restaurants.

By: Cynthia Hacinli

Haandi represents the middle ground of fine Indian restaurants. It is neither so authentic as Minerva in Virginia or Tiffin in Maryland nor so upscale as DC's Bombay Club. The managers admit to making compromises for Western tastes, but the restaurants continue to serve very pleasing Indian food in pleasant settings at fair prices.

As with many Indian places, the tandoor attracts a wide audience. The bone-in tandoori chicken is more exciting and flavorful than the more timid all-white-meat selections. The lamb chops are top of the line. Good sauced dishes are the spicy lamb vindaloo; the vegetarian aloo do paeezah made of sautéed potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers, and laced with cumin seeds; and boldly seasoned wok-cooked dishes from the north that include tomato and bell pepper. Biryani dishes consist of a large mound of saffron rice studded with chicken, beef, or vegetables along with nuts and cloves. Tandoor-baked flatbreads such as nan and roti or stuffed breads are very good.