The popularity of tandoori chicken and lamb curries tends to obscure the fact that many Indians are vegetarian, and a whole world of Indian vegetarian cooking seldom appears on the menus of local Indian restaurants.
The unpretentious Amma Indian Vegetarian Kitchen is a good place to explore the world of dosas–pancakes made of rice and lentil flour–one of southern India's favorite treats for mealtimes or snacks. You can order them plain or buttered, to eat as bread or wrapped around any number of vegetables and spices or cheese. The most popular dish on the menu may be the Masala Dosa, the crisp pancake wrapped around a flavorful mixture of mashed potato and onion.
There are delicious vegetable curries on the menu–chickpeas and potatoes; spinach and cheese; eggplant with tomato. Paired with the terrific deep-fried, puffy bread called poori, they make a satisfying light meal. Indian beer is a good accompaniment to the food, but there are also wines, juices, coffee, tea, and a selection of the yogurt drinks called lassis.
Amma Indian Vegetarian Kitchen, 3291 M St., NW; 202-625-6625. No wheelchair access.