|Good for Groups||No Alcohol|
Northern Virginia is home to some of the most rewarding subcontinental cooking in the area. Rasika, Bombay Club, and Indique—which have helped shape the direction of contemporary Indian cooking in the country—all reside in DC. Curry Leaf is in Laurel, far from the vital center or even any sustaining pocket. Yet it attracts crowds nightly, a testament to the consistency and quality of chef Sam Krishnan’s cuisine, as well as to an audience that doesn’t seem to care if it turns up a good lamb korma in a setting suited for a diplomat or, as in this case, a faceless strip mall. While all the usual suspects are here (butter chicken, palak paneer), it’s the obscurities—such as a Hyderabadi egg curry with a thick, peppery gravy or a chili-pepper curry that’s not the fire pit you expect but a subtler, more nuanced expression of spice—that give the place its culinary character.
Also good: Goat curry; lamb vindaloo.