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« P is for Pesce | Main | The biggest sign of insanity is... »

Sun, Jul 11 2004 at 11:20 AM

Nirvana...I'm still unenlightened

Posted by Jason, Jul 11, 2004

Last night, Amy and I made a trip with one of her blogging friends and his wife to Nirvana. We had never been to Nirvana before. However, several people had told me that Nirvana was one of the top Indian restaurants in DC, so I thought taking our friends there was a sure thing.

I'll start with the positives first. The appetizer platter we ordered was pretty good. It came with with amiri khaman (steamed lentil cakes), khandvi (chick pea flour pinwheels), khasta kachori (fried puffed pastry with chutneys), and aloo tikki (potato patties with peas and coconut). I especially liked the aloo tikki. Sadly, the appetizer platter was the only real highlight of the meal.

Two of us ordered tomoto-based curries. They tasted like someone had mixed canned tomato paste and sugar with vegetables and cheese. I swore I was eating a bad vodka sauce at a mediocre Italian restaurant. There was no sign of fresh tomato at all in the sauce. I ordered undhio which was something I had never seen at an Indian restaurant and sounded interesting. The menu said that undhio contained seasonal fresh vegetables (potatoes, peas, onions, peppers) and chick pea dumplings simmered in a spicy sauce. Pretty much the only accurate part of that statement was the spicy part. The potatoes were overcooked and dry and the peas were undercooked and hard. I didn't finish it.

At the risk of making a lot of people upset, I have to say that Nirvana was really average and none of us were really impressed with the food. I was really confused. I have talked to many people that really love this place. Tom Seitsema of the Post even gave it a really positive review as well. The only thing I can think of is that people have only been to Nirvana at lunch time for their buffet and have not eaten there for dinner. Either that, or Nirvana was really having a bad night.

At the end of the meal, I asked everyone, "So. What did you think?"

Everyone responded, "Eh," and shrugged their shoulders.

Categories: Downtown, Indian, Restaurant Reviews
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Mindy

But the company was exceptional, wasn't it? I mean, I will be totally shattered if it wasn't. I would have been all nervous meeting all my favorite bloggy friends, especially my mail-order wife... your, uh, wife. Has she mentioned that to you yet? If not, I am just kidding. Going to take my meds now. Oh, and tell her I added two more tablecloths to the registery. Thanks!

Beth

Chris's dal was actually pretty good, but otherwise I agree with you. Now, there is a great Thai place out by us that could use some good publicity...

Ria Sharma

I am a food writer residing in Bombay. I agree with you, the food here is really below average. What a great concept though - for the buffet.

Pete Shah

Okay so this was my first time visiting Nirvana and I was a bit skeptical after reading mixed reviews (rightfully so, in hindsight), but decided to give it a try anyway as I am a vegetarian and so were the 6 other people who accompanied me that day.

The menu is full of run of the mill stuff that any other Indian restaurant would normally offer, they do have a couple of Gujarati items that they claim to be 'authentic', and I couldn't disagree more.

First of all let me clarify, I am a Gujarati and so were all of the people with us that day. We all know what Gujarati food tastes like and they all agreed that the Gujarati dishes that we ordered as part of the appetizers were average at best, and the main course dish 'Undhiyu' was atrocious, it was completely tasteless and we had to confirm that the dish they served us was actually 'Undhiyu' as it tasted, looked so much different.

Some of the other main course dishes we ordered were equally horrible and to my shock exactly as one of the reviewers had described earlier on this site - It was like eating undercooked pieces of large vegetables that were smothered in Ketchup, there was no spice or flavor to it.

The service, if you can call it that, was appalling and for that they had the nerve to tack on an 18 % gratuity on the bill. The décor sucks with not enough lighting, it felt like we were in some kind of a dungeon, and btw, the 7 of us were the only customers in the entire restaurant that weekday evening, that does say something about its popularity.

I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, I no longer believe that was the case that day, they just don't know what they are doing. It tempered if not completely ruined our evening and my wife's B'day celebration that day.

I would definitely stay away from this place until they get their act together, or else I don't think they will survive for long.

Elizabeth

This is an old review, so I feel kind of silly commenting on it. Anyhow, my husband and I tried Nirvana a few months ago for dinner one night and we just weren't impressed. We decided we preferred Heritage India and Amma Vegetarian Kitchen to Nirvana. But my husband works on K Street, so one day when I was downtown for a meeting we met there for lunch....YUM. I wouldn't go back there for dinner, but the lunch buffet is delicious.

Ohziris Cruz

Well, I have try Nirvana before and I did like it. I am not an expert in Indian cuisine but it was good, spice but good. Perhaps that day was not the best day for them. :(

Jason

July 2004 was the last time I was at this place. It might have improved since then.

Matt

No, it's still horrible.

I love the idea of an all-veggie indian restaurant, especially when it's so close to my office. I've given the place a few chances, and it has never failed to disappoint. you're better off at Wendy's.. even if you're veggie.

demian

Nirvana shines with its lunchtime buffet, which is particularly authentic and tasty when it comes to southern Indian cuisine (e.g. masala dosas and idli). The dinner menu is less impressive. There's a line out the door almost every weekday at noon. I would hesitate to go back for dinner; I ordered peas-and-paneer curry, and the tomato sauce was indeed quite bland. But they do make a very nice chickpea curry at lunch, and the Savories buffet (thursday, i believe) is quite tasty with its potato patties and chutney sauce.

Carla dal Cais

I ate at Nirvana yesterday, a place I have enjoyed for several years. My friend and I were chatting at our table for a few minutes after a very nice lunch . . . . and the owner lady asked us to leave because there was a small line of people waiting for tables. No longer a repeat customer!

Anonymous

I went out last night with a few friends to Nirvana for dinner. I have to agree that service was terrible and the food was below average for everyone who ordered. I would not recommend going there again. And yes, they definitely did add the gratuity to the bill - probably because they knew they wouldn't get it otherwise! Bad food, bad service - don't go there if you don't want to ruin your night.

Anonymous

I went out last night with a few friends to Nirvana for dinner. I have to agree that service was terrible and the food was below average for everyone who ordered. I would not recommend going there again. And yes, they definitely did add the gratuity to the bill - probably because they knew they wouldn't get it otherwise! Bad food, bad service - don't go there if you don't want to ruin your night.

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