Cheap Eats 2011: Bollywood Bistro

Indian cooking is seldom regarded as destination dining–unless it’s the East/West fusion of Rasika or Indique Heights. This cheery Fairfax restaurant manages a rare blend of comfort and sophistication.

The simplest dishes are often superb–a stir-fry of okra reminds you how good that often mishandled vegetable can be. Curries are exemplary for their gravies–so complex that the sometimes overcooked meats seem almost secondary. And there’s little drop-off in flavor when you sample them from the excellent lunch buffet.

The occasional forays into genre-blurring are mixed: A raita that blends tangy yogurt with black olives is unexpectedly exciting, while a guacamole chutney is more interesting than delicious. If you’re caught between possibilities, turn to the helpful staff, who are happy to illuminate everything from the kitchen’s idea of “spicy” to which specials are worth springing for.

Also good: Aam palak chaat with green mango; goat masala; lamb rogan josh; chicken korma; Malabari chicken.

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.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.