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.
Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
The colorful doors that lead into this serenely pretty dining room hint that it isn’t your average Indian restaurant. Inside are waiters with bow ties and a roster of dishes not often found in these parts, such as a Parsi-style dish of lamb studded with apricots and topped with crisp potato straws.
Chef/owner Sudhir Seth’s menu, organized around India’s geographic quadrants, showcases the preparations and sauces found across his native country. Start with a wonderful western-India-inspired crab masala or juicy nuggets of chicken kebab spiked with nutmeg and jalapeño. Then move on to baby eggplant in a sesame-peanut gravy or a dish of slow-cooked black lentils finished with butter. All the intense flavors call for a refreshing dessert of sweetened yogurt ladled over chunks of fresh mango.
Also good: Sev-murmura chaat, a fancy version of the crunchy, tangy street snack of puffed rice, dates, and tamarind; potato samosas with chickpeas and yogurt; thinly sliced tandoori lamb; spicy chicken with spinach and fenugreek; pickle plate; garlic naan; kulfi, a frozen-milk dessert with luscious burnt-orange sauce.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants