Cheap Eats 2011: Masala Art

Tenleytown isn’t exactly known for its restaurant scene, but it does have one enviable destination spot: this serene, celadon-painted Indian dining room, which puts out some of the area’s most vibrant curries. The flavors of the kitchen’s chicken makhani (also known as butter chicken) are at once amped up and complex, and it’s hard to resist sopping up all the tomatoey gravy with blistered rounds of cilantro-sprinkled naan. Same goes for a lush cashew-and-saffron curry and the cilantro-mint sauce draping hunks of lamb. Appetizers are just as appealing, including the tamarind-and-yogurt-streaked potato salad called papri chaat, the similarly adorned puffed-rice bhel puri, and the tangy Chicken 65. The weekday lunch buffet ($9.50) is an excellent introduction to what the kitchen can do.

Also good: Samosas; crispy potato cakes; tandoori cauliflower; khasta roti; pineapple sorbet.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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.