Cuisine: Dynamic Indian flavors find their way into unexpected preparations, such as crabcakes (spiked with anise), Caesar salad with chicken grilled in the tandoor, and especially the lineup of chef/owner K.N. Vinod’s flavor-packed street-snacks menu. Purists can rest assured there are plenty of classic dishes, too.
Mood: A low-lit series of elegant dining rooms, outfitted with silk curtains and a gurgling fountain, is energized by brightly colored plates, glittering granite tables, and red-and-orange-striped booths.
Best for: An introduction to Indian cuisine; a filling meal after a day of shopping in the boutiques of Friendship Heights.
Best dishes: Vegetable samosa chaat, spilling with tomatoey chickpeas; crab tikki, anise-spiked crab patties with spicy coconut flakes; cayenne-rubbed tilapia with lemony rice; coconutty Malabar shrimp curry; a very peppery chicken chettinad; shreekand brûlée, a yogurt-based riff on crème brûlée studded with pistachios.
Insider tips: Midday deals abound. The all-you-can-eat lunch buffet holds about ten curries and dosas for $10.95. Weekday lunch boxes come both vegetarian ($6.95) and meat-filled ($7.95 to $8.95) and include two curries, rice pilaf, and naan.
Open daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate.