Heritage India – Dupont Circle

Small plates inspired by Indian street food.

From July 2004

The popularity of Spanish tapas, those small plates of food meant to accompany drinks, has inspired restaurateurs to search their cuisines for items suited for grazing. Middle Eastern restaurants had a natural in mezze. Those small plates are so popular that some restaurants, like Zaytinya, have all but dispensed with main courses.

The new Heritage India–sister to the restaurant in DC's Glover Park–calls itself a "Brasserie & Lounge" and has devoted almost a page of its menu to "Contemporary Indian Fare," much of which is small plates based on the fare offered by street hawkers in India. These include familiar items like samosas, pakoras, and kebabs, plus some cross-cultural experiments–a roasted portobello mushroom with crab masala; a hummus of roasted garlic and black beans with a Parmesan naan; and tandoor-smoked mozzarella. The small plates are between $3.95 and $7.95. A section of pastas further expands the menu with selections like Goan Bouillabase, fish and shellfish on angel-hair pasta with cilantro-pesto rouille.

After you've seen the raj-inspired art in the dining room, don't miss the scenes from the Kama Sutra that decorate the toilets–but leave the kids at the table.