100 Best Restaurants 2010: Spice Xing

No. 52: Spice Xing

Cuisine: The sibling restaurant to chef Sudhir Seth’s Passage to India trades the elegance and formality of its big sister for a more casual and vibrant experience. It’s a looser operation, but the profusion of flavors emanating from the kitchen—complex, vivid curries, lovingly rendered street snacks, well-blistered breads—is testament to the commitment to authenticity. A tantalizing roster of cocktails complements—and balances—the heat in the dishes.

Mood: The quiet, colorful space manages to be stylish without feeling off-putting, soothing without being somnolent, and provides an appealing backdrop for the riot of flavors on the table.

Best for: A grand meal that’s not out of reach for ordinary weekday dining.

Best dishes: Mini-dosas; juicy, plump tandoori wings; a single butterflied barbecue jumbo shrimp, foil-tipped and hot from the tandoor oven; a Persian-style lamb-and-apricot stew; a simple and spot-on chicken tikka masala; roasted baby eggplants; lychee mojito.

Insider tips: The curries travel extremely well, making good carryout choices. If you order in, you might want to consider getting an extra couple to go to help out with lunch for the week.

Service: ••½

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive to moderate.

See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants 

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.