633 D St., NW
Washington, DC 20004
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Downtown
Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, Indian
Open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 to 2:30. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday 5:30 to 10:30, Friday 5 to 11, Saturday 5 to 11.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Gallery Place-Chinatown, Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter
Price Range: Expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Palak chaat; lobster moilee with ginger, green chilies, and coconut milk; tandoori lamb chops with cashews, ginger, and green herbs; truffle-oil naan; tomato/gold-raisin chutney; chocolate samosas; apple beignet with cardamom ice cream.
Small plates, $7 to $12; entrees, $14 to $27.
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Valet Parking Available
The crown jewel of Ashok Bajaj's restaurant collection is this gorgeously lit Penn Quarter dining room--easily the area's best Indian restaurant and unlike any other in the crowded field. Anchoring chef Vikram Sunderam's menu are first-rate renditions of familiar curry-house stews--lamb rogan josh, chicken tikka masala--but nearly everything else is unexpected.
The bread called kulcha is stuffed with goat cheese, the cocktail list includes a riff on a Dark and Stormy made with butternut squash, and tandoori-cooked meats are joined by kebabs and fish from the tawa griddle. The famed palak chaat--fried leaves of spinach zigzagged with yogurt and tamarind--is a winner, but on one visit it was eclipsed by a more unusual veggie dish: lentil-flour-and-cabbage cakes in a stunning yogurt sauce flecked with mustard seeds.
What to get: Ragda patties, potato cakes with tamarind-date-and-mint chutney; avocado and banana with date chutney; black cod marinated in honey, dill, star anise, and vinegar; mint paratha, the spiraled bread.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. Expensive.