Food

Outtakes: Reviewing Curry Mantra

We don't have space for all of our beautiful photos in the magazine. Here's a chance to flip through some more shots of Curry Mantra, reviewed in the April 2011 issue.

The dining room at Curry Mantra feels cozy; tandoori chicken on skewers. Photographs by Scott Suchman

 

Curry Mantra hired both a Southern Indian chef and a Northern Indian chef when it opened at the end of 2010 in a small Fairfax strip mall. I reviewed the place in the April issue.

The hiring amounted to a wise hedge, an attempt to satisfy all comers. Many Americans aren’t fond of Southern Indian cooking—a vegetarian-based cuisine—and vegetarians, including many Indians, aren’t likely to find satisfaction in an all-Northern menu, with its preponderance of kebabs.

Accordingly, the kitchen turns out a raft of dishes from both of these idioms, but don’t be fooled—this is a Southern Indian restaurant at heart. The vegetarian dishes are the real reason to make the trek out to this cozy, vermilion-hued dining room. The dosas (thin, crunchy, oversize crepes stuffed with a hash of potatoes and onions and accompanied by a dipping sauce of vivid coconut chutney), the baingan bhartha (a mash of blistered eggplants, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro), and the saag paneer (a rich, spinach-based stew) are among the very best of their kind in the area.

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