100 Best Restaurants 2008: Indique Heights

No. 86: Indique Heights

Cuisine: The original Cleveland Park Indique seems to have lost its kitchen mojo—or maybe it’s been transferred to this sister dining room, where the tandoori meats are both tender and assertive, the takes on regional Indian street food are inspired, and the cocktails are cool.

Mood: Inside, you’re never aware that this Friendship Heights hideaway is located above a bus depot. It’s one of the prettiest Indian spots around, its intimate dining rooms dolled up with jewel-tone silks, carved lattices, even a gurgling aquamarine-lit fountain.

Best for: Diners who adore the variety and complexity of Indian cooking but not the unrelenting heat.

Best dishes: Papri chaat, potatoes and chickpeas covered with a swirl of yogurt, and cilantro and tamarind chutneys; chicken kathi rolls; Syrian-style lamb with lemon rice; vegetable dosa with a palette of chutneys; tandoori salmon; samosas; chicken chettinad; baby eggplants stewed with sesame and cashews; malai kofta; breads such as nan and Ceylon-style layered paratha; trio of rice puddings; gulab jamun.

Insider tips: The thali platters ($20 and $22) offer tastes of five curries. They’re generous, but we like to make our own sharable meal by ordering an appetizer of tandoori-cooked meat with several small plates, such as the fluffy dosas and tamarind-soaked bhel puri. The colorful bar is a great spot for snacks and drinks, and the wine list offers many selections by the glass and half pour.

Service: •

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 Petworth.