Last Sunday, Amy and I went to Indique for lunch. WOW!! What a deal. $8-9 for an entree with soup or salad, rice, naan and a side of daal. It was probably one of the best deals we have ever had in a meal.
This wasn't the first time Amy and I had been to Indique. The first time we went was the the week it opened. Before it opened, we noticed the sign posted on the building at the top of the escalator to the Cleveland Park Metro. "Coming soon, another location of Bombay Bistro." Amy and I looked at each other...NOOOO WAY! We both knew of Bombay Bistro from our days living out in Gaithersburg. Bombay Bistro is said by many to be one of the top Indian restaurants in Maryland, so of course we were excited to see a new location opening around the corner from us. As time went on, the name of the restaurant changed from Bombay Bistro to Indique.
The name explains the restaurant perfectly -- Unique Indian food. Indique had a martini menu:Something that I'm not used to seeing at an Indian restaurant. The appetizers are especially unique. One worth mentioning...Calamari Ullarthiyathe (Translation -- fresh calamari shallots, ginger, hot pepper, mustard seeds, tomatoes and a ton of Indian spices).
Sunday, sitting to our right, was an entire Indian family...On our left, an Indian mother and daughter. One thing we have always noticed is a judge of a good Indian restaurant is how many Indian people actually eat there. Each of the people at the table to the right ordered a Mimi Oothapam as an appetizer. They looked really good. Next time we go, we'll probably each order one. Oothapam are pancakes made with lentils and rice and they come with a variety of spicy chutneys.
For entrees, you have the usual items on the menu that you find at Indian restaurants. However, you will find that they pack about twice the flavor into them as other places. As usual I order curries like chicken tikka masala, although on this last trip, I ordered the Kabob Indique. It has two kabobs - one lamb and one chicken. Honestly, I kind of wished I had ordered one of my usual dishes. The kabobs were good, but I just love a good Indian curry.
Like other Indian restaurants, dessert is not the highlight of the menu. I can't remember the last time I ate dessert after eating Indian. Honestly though, who has the room in their stomach?
Sadly, we just can seem to catch a break with the service at Indique. Each time we have been there, the service is slow and we find ourselves waiting for a while for our food to come. Even Sunday, when the restaurant wasn't really crowded, the service was slow. We have definityly seen improvement each time we have been to Indique, but it is the one thing that keeps me from just outright declaring it Lord of All Indian Restaurants in DC.
Another drawback to Indique is how crowded it usually is. This Sunday was the first time we have been there and not had to wait a while for a table. Since it is by the Uptown Theater, there is always a wait. I would definitely plan ahead and make reservations if you can. It's not the type of restaurant that you can call the same night and make a reservation.
As far as dress is concerned, Indique is casual. Jeans are common, but I also have seem people get a little dressed up. Basically, I would just wear what makes you comfy.
As I said earlier, Indique has great value on their menu. The fact that their entrees come with rice and daal is definitely a plus (unlike Heritage India that charges you for rice). Be careful though, ordering of the drink menu can quickly raise your bill. The wine list is reasonable with a large variety of wines in a large range of prices.
I did not take any pictures of the food, but I took a bunch of pictures of the restaurant. The restaurant makes you feel like you are actually in India. Ever seen "The Man Who Knew to Much"? I also love restaurants that have an open kitchen where you can see how clean it is. Wave "hi" to the cook at you go upstairs to your table.
3512 Connecticut Ave.
Amy and I went to Heritage India for dinner again last night. We originally intended to go to Indique, but we were unable to make a reservation the same night. Of course I waited till 6:30 to try and make a reservation. I'm a procrastinator as usual. So we "settled" (LOL) for Heritage India.
Here's a little history about our experiences at Heritage India. When we first moved to DC, being lovers of Indian food, we went to every Indian restaurant within walking distance of our home even though we were pretty strapped for cash. The first time we went to Heritage India, the first thing we noticed were that the prices were more than other Indian restaurants we had been to. We had heard, however, that the food was excellent there, and that the prices were well worth it. What we had heard was pretty much right on the money. However, I think at the time, the prices compared to other India restaurants (and the $100 bill) blinded us a bit. We also noticed that the service was a bit...rough around the edges.
After our pockets deepened a bit and we did not mind so much spending $100 on dinner at an Indian restaurant, we started going back to Heritage India. Last night was the second time in two months that we stopped by, and it was as good as it has ever been. The lamb korma I had was probably the best I have ever tasted. The lamb was extremely tender and the sauce had a great combination of cashews and spices. It was also not bland like most kormas are at other restaurants.
As usual, Amy ordered the saag paneer. She found it not to her liking, but she has very specific taste when it comes to saag paneer. For those of you who do not know, saag is a spinach curry and paneer is a type of Indian cheese. Amy's complaint was that the saag was too creamy and the paneer was too soft. Like I said though, Amy's taste in this matter is very specific. :) I think Amy's exact words were, "The saag paneer I had at Haandi the other day was better." Next time, she will probably order something besides the saag. It sure isn't our last trip to Heritage India.
One of the things that makes Heritage India more expensive than other Indian restaurants is the wine list. Where other restaurant's wine prices range from $20-30, Heritage ranges from $30-50. However, they have a very good wine selection ranging from many regions of France and the US. Last night we ordered a good Cote Du Rhone that went very well with our meal. One thing to be careful of...The wine, uh, not sure what you call it, pictured below. It is basically a wine bottle holder that can make for a nice mess it you are not careful taking the bottle out (especially when you have already had a couple glasses of wine). Our previous trip, I managed to spill wine all over the table. Luckily we had drank most of it already. On the left you'll see the lamb korma I ordered and on the right, the saag paneer that Amy ordered.
Compared to the other Indian restaurants in the area, I think that Heritage excels in the northern style Indian cuisine. I find their curries to be superior to other Indian restaurants in the area. One thing that in past visits we found was that the service was a little rough. Last night, however, the service was perfect. I think that the recent opening of Indique has given Heritage a little bit of a wake up call. Indique has a more modern approach to their restaurant, with "fancy" drinks and an atypical menu that you wont find at other Indian restaurants. So I don't really think that the two restaurants can be fairly compared. Amy and I are actually planning on heading over to Cleveland Park today to have lunch there. Curry is most definitely addictive! :)
Here are some more pictures from last night. Heritage India is on two floors. On the first floor (which I have no pictures of because it was so dark), is the bar and witing area. When you are seated, the hostess will take you up the stairs to the second floor, where there is another bar, and two dining rooms, seen below.
One thing I noticed last night...Inside the menu it says that the owners have restaurants in Germany and in the Czech Republic. I found that quite interesting and odd at the same time, but I guess it is not too uncommon. Heritage also has a location
in Bethesda, with a location that just opened (EDIT: thanks to Balraj Bhasin for pointing out that the Bethesda location is no longer run by Heritage India, but by Sudhir Seth, who previously was affiliated with Bombay Club) on Connecticut Ave, just south of Dupont Circle.
Heritage India, used to be dressier. You used to see people wearing sport coats and dresses there. Last night however, people were pretty casual. Amy even pointed out someone wearing a hat , t-shirt and jeans. I guess just about any clothing will work here, however, Amy and I like to dress it up a bit when we go the Heritage.
2400 Wisconsin Ave NW
1337 Connecticut Ave