It's been long agreed upon by most Indian food fanatics like myself, that Bombay Bistro was the reigning king of Indian food in Rockville. While Bombay Bistro is very good, I think that the owners have put all of their money into Indique, which opened last year (I think - timing?) on Connecticut Ave. In the mean time, Bombay Bistro is starting to look a bit run down. The last time I was there, the restaurant almost seemed filthy to me. While the food is still very good, the restaurant itself definitely looked like it could use a good hosing down.
In the mean time, India Grill has moved to a new location, a few blocks away from India Bistro on Rockville Pike in the shopping center behind the IHOP. Our first trip, Amy and I had a chance to stop by India Grill for lunch and I was pleasantly surprised at how good all of our food was. The new location is newly renovated and elegant looking. Better yet...it's clean.
We were tempted to just get the lunch buffet, but I wanted to try something besides the usual choices of daal, channa masala, vegetable saag, and chicken curry. We both ordered Mahkani dishes: paneer and chicken.
"How would you like your dishes?" The waiter asked. "Mild, medium, or hot."
"We'll have them medium." I replied. I love it when an Indian restaurant asks you how you want your food cooked. They almost always make the food too mild. The medium actually wasn't that hot for me, but everyones taste is different. The tomato-based mahkani sauce was thick but not overly creamy or salty. So much of the Indian food that I've eaten lately is way too salty and I found it refreshing to actually taste the flavor of the tomato and Indian spices in the sauce.
I'm not sure what it is, but sometimes it seems like Indian restaurants get their bread from an Indian grocer's freezer. This was not the case at India Grill, where the Poori and Paratha we ordered were quite fresh and seemed like they'd just been made. Amy and I thought the paratha was a little dry, though.
Service is prompt and gracious, but perhaps a little too gracious if you know what I mean. For example, at the end of our first meal at India Grill, our server left the check and I put my credit card in it. When the server returned, he asked if he could take the check. I wanted to say, "I wouldn't have put my credit card there if I wasn't ready for you to take it." Anyway, it's a pet peeve of mine so don't pay much attention to it. I was never so nice when I was a waiter, but I guess an overly polite wait staff is better than a rude wait staff.
A few nights later, Amy and I returned to India Grill for dinner. There was no wait for a table, but the restaurant had a decent crowd with most of the tables filled. We sat outside on the small patio which has about five or six tables where you only have a view of the parking lot and other stores, but still, and outdoor patio in this part of Rockville is a rarity.
This time, Amy ordered the buffet which, I should mention, is available for dinner as well as lunch. She found that the buffet food was very mild, but given the fact that she was having Braxton-Hicks contractions at the time and wasn't feeling all that wonderful, she didn't really mind at all. I went with my all time favorite Indian dish -- lamb rogan josh.
For an appetizer, I chose the Paneer Pakora, (moist chunks of Indian cheese deep fried in a chick pea batter seasoned with curry) which were ideally cooked. Every other time I've ordered this dish at other places, the chef overcooks the cheese leaving a rubbery, burnt mess for me to eat. India Grill's chefs are able to keep the cheese moist and succulent while having a crispy exterior on the batter. If this dish was all I ever ate at India Grill, I'd be satisfied.
The lamb rogan josh was simple but good. Again, the sauce of the curry wasn't too creamy and I could really taste and smell all of the spices that made up the dish like cardamon and coriander. I ordered it medium spicy again and it certainly came out that way. It was spicy enough to make my nose run a little, but I think I can handle some more heat. Next time, I'm going to go for hot.
785 Rockville Pike # K
Rockville, MD 20852
Dress Code: Casual
Smoking: Not Allowed
Closest Metro: Rockville
Parking: There's lots of parking on the shopping center parking lot where the restaurant is located.
Reservations: Probably taken, but there's no need
Amy's Bathroom Rating: Clean but typical of an Indian restaurant.