Woodlands – Langley Park

June 2006 Cheap Eats

Buffets conjure up thoughts of food languishing beneath flavor-killing heat lamps, the quantity intended to offset the lack of quality. Indian food is the exception to this rule, its curries benefiting from the steady simmer, the spice-laden flavors deepening as they sit.

These sparsely decorated southern-Indian vegetarian restaurants–spinoffs of the London original–serve up one of the best buffets in the area, a varied feast that attracts hordes of customers at lunch during the week and especially on weekends. Quality plus quantity is hard to beat, particularly at prices that rival a Friday's or Bennigan's.

The regular menu is just as reliable. Omnivores won't miss their meats, not with curries this rich and complex–if anything, the varieties using coconut milk, like the vegetable korma, are prone to being over-rich. The fry breads are hot, puffy, and addictive, if a little greasy. No visit is complete without an order of the fabulous dosai, crispy, thin rice-flour crepes that look like giant tuile cookies and, when stuffed with a black-mustard-seed-dotted mixture of potatoes and onions, make a meal all by themselves. Among the list of lassis is a beguiling lychee lassi, at once creamy, tangy, and sweet.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.