Food

100 Best Restaurants 2008: Passage to India

No. 23: Passage to India

Cuisine: Elegant Indian that goes beyond the usual—chef/owner Sudhir Seth’s menu spans the subcontinent with regional entrées that remind us that Indian cuisine is as varied and complex as any.

Mood: The formal servers and the dining room decorated with portraits of rajahs and viceroys and carvings of Hindu gods conjure the Raj as portrayed in the film A Passage to India.

Best for: Adventurous groups willing to explore—and share—exotic flavors.

Best dishes: Sev-mumura chaat, a bizarrely delicious salad of puffed rice and vermicelli with cilantro, dates, and tamarind; lentil “pebbles” flavored with ginger and dates; lamb curry with apricots and straw potatoes; succulent tandoori chicken; kulcha, bread stuffed with lightly spiced onions; and a pickle platter to cut the heat and weight of the curries.

Insider tips: You can travel the subcontinent two ways here—by jumping around the menu choosing something from each region or with a more methodical exploration—say, of the Parsi specialties of western India. Don’t see your favorite dish? Just ask.

Service: ••

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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.