Bombay Gaylord

Family-run Northern Indian buffet.

From “Best of Silver Spring,” September 2004

When curry calls, head for Bombay Gaylord, which despite its lack of sidewalk appeal dishes up authentic northern Indian cuisine in a gracious pale-pink dining room. Start with a bit of crunch by ordering papri chat, a cold salad of chickpeas, flour crisps, yogurt, and tamarind, or the appetizer platter of beautifully fried vegetable samosas along with onion bhajias and chicken pakoras, both fried in chickpea batter. Flatbreads, be they the buttery sautéed Punjabi paratha or naan, and roti baked in the tandoor have just the right snap.

The tandoor also turns out succulent bone-in chicken and boneless chicken tikka, both better than the shrimp or lamb, which tend to be dry and chewy. Chicken also shines in curries like chicken malai, made with yogurt, and chicken tikka masala, with cilantro, vegetables, and cream. Lamb vindaloo may not be as fiery as some versions–the kitchen tends to spice for Westerners–but makes up in flavor what it lacks in heat. Saag paneer the familiar puréed-spinach-and-cheese dish, is expertly done, as is the less common malai kefta, vegetable croquettes in a creamy nut-based gravy. Mango lassi is the traditional accompaniment, but there's also Taj Mahal beer. To cool things down, try the dense house-made almond kulfi, a rich Indian ice cream.