Passage to India
4931 Cordell Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814
Neighborhood: Bethesda/Glen Echo
Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, Indian
Daily for lunch and dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Bethesda
Price Range: Moderate
Noise Level: Intimate
Sev-murmura chaat; samosa with chickpeas and yogurt; lamb cooked in the tandoor oven; shrimp in coconut curry; pickle plate; fresh mango with yogurt.
Cuisine: Elegant Indian that goes beyond the usual—chef/owner Sudhir Seth’s menu spans the subcontinent with regional entrées that remind us that Indian cuisine is as varied and complex as any.
Mood: The formal servers and the dining room decorated with portraits of rajahs and viceroys and carvings of Hindu gods conjure the Raj as portrayed in the film A Passage to India.
Best for: Adventurous groups willing to explore—and share—exotic flavors.
Best dishes: Sev-mumura chaat, a bizarrely delicious salad of puffed rice and vermicelli with cilantro, dates, and tamarind; lentil “pebbles” flavored with ginger and dates; lamb curry with apricots and straw potatoes; succulent tandoori chicken; kulcha, bread stuffed with lightly spiced onions; and a pickle platter to cut the heat and weight of the curries.
Insider tips: You can travel the subcontinent two ways here—by jumping around the menu choosing something from each region or with a more methodical exploration—say, of the Parsi specialties of western India. Don’t see your favorite dish? Just ask.