January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants

This sister restaurant to Cleveland Park's Indique offers Indian-spiced cocktails and riffs on Indian street food.

No. 77: Indique Heights

Ensconced on the second floor of a Chevy Chase office building, this spinoff of the successful Indique has such a bland look that you worry the cooking will be without kick, too. Fear not: The chutneys are potent, there are two kinds of raita to choose from, and the kitchen is not chary about applying the heat.

Because meals tend to sag in the middle—each curry seems to be undone by a different flaw, from an overoily chicken curry to a too-astringent Chicken Chettinad to a lamb rogan josh with tough bits of meat—it’s best to front-load and back-load your meal. That means grazing among the Indian street foods—including lively renditions of bhel puri and papri chaat —and concentrating on the crunchy samosas, the excellent soups, and the first-rate breads, in particular the blistered, buttery naan and the baked paratha.

It also means saving room for the roster of sweets, which nod to Western sensibilities without pandering. Shreekand brule is an inspired union of opposites, a lush custard that gives way to a spicy hit of cardamom and saffron; parupe pradhamam, a specialty of the Western coastal state Kerala, brings together lentils, cashews, jaggery, cardamom, and raisins in a warm pudding that toggles between sweet and spicy. Gulab jamun is a big, fluffy ball of perfectly fried dough.

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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.