Old Ebbitt Oyster Riot alternative?

If your like me and you're someone that loves oysters but has a pregnant wife and just can't justify the expense of two tickets to the Old Ebbitt Oyster Riot...ok, there probably aren't that many of you, but I was chatting with a the chef at Addie's, Nate Waugaman, (his daughter and my son go to the same school and are in the same soccer league) about my frustration and he had this other suggestion.

"Come to the Addie's Oyster Roast this Sunday!" he told me. 

"What's that?!" I asked him, "and why don't I know about it?!"

He went on to explain that Addie's Oyster Roast will have oysters every way, roasted, fried, and of course, on the half-shell, so I can eat all the oysters, raw or otherwise that I want. But in addition, My wife would also be able to gorge herself on all the roasted Chesapeake clams, BBQ chicken, chili, hot dogs, cornbread, roast suckling pig, deviled eggs, coleslaw, caramel apples, cookies and brownies she could eat.

There will also be live music, beer and wine (for me of course). And, unlike the Old Ebbitt Oyster Riot, which is not something you would take your kids to, this will be a very kid-friendly event with face painting, bobbing for apples, temporary tattoos, and a moon bounce, so I don't have to pay for a baby sitter. Score!

Even better is that all the profits support juvenile diabetes and the Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center. 

So if you aren't doing anything this Sunday afternoon (November 14th) between 12 and 5 PM, come by Addie's in Rockville. Tickets are $60 at the door, or $50 if you order them off the Addie's Web Site or call 301-881-0081. Kids under 12 are $20 and kids under 5 are free. 

Oro Pomodoro

Dsc00174UPDATE 5/10/2009: Stay away from this place if you can at all help it. After a couple recent visits, I have sworn never to return. How many times do people have to send pizzas back at this place for the chefs to realize that they're not cooking the pizzas long enough. I saw at least two other tables around us send their pizzas back. I felt like calling the manager over and asking him to pick up one of my slices to try to eat it. The pizza was a soggy mess and it was impossible to pick up a piece without all the cheese just sliding off. I had a caesar salad that had ONE crouton and was missing the parmesan cheese. The dressing had way too much acid in it and the cold chunks of chicken were like eating leather . Anyway, just a warning. Now on with the original review...

Back in May, on one of my numerous trips to Rockville Town Square, I noticed this new Neapolitan Pizza restaurant called Oro Pomodoro right by the fountain that my son likes to play in. People seemed to be enjoying the pizza and pasta they were eating and it peaked my curiosity right away as I'm always looking for a good Neapolitan pizza place. Up until now I've dined there five times, and I'll probably continue to go back, mostly out of convenience.

The first time I visited Oro Pomodoro, I instinctively ordered a pizza. A good Margherita is a tell tale sign of a good Neapolitan Pizza place and will quickly tell you if the restaurant you're at knows it's shit or is just another 2 Amys wannabe. The pizza was brought to our table and I immediately noticed a pool of water/oil/undersirableness in the center.  Basically, there was too much cheese. There should not be a solid layer of cheese on a Neapolitan pizza, especially if they're using buffalo mozzarella.

In subsequent visits, despite ordering the pizza "well done", "extra crispy", "extra  charred", "burnt", (I literally tried all of those ordering techniques) the pizzas have come out the same way. Now I'm no pizzaiola, but this says to me that the oven is just not hot enough or the kitchen isn't cooking the pizzas long enough.

The pizza's saving grace a basic flavorful sauce and the dough, a perfect combination of salty chewiness that I've come to expect in a pizza crust. For those of you that are crust fiends like me, it's as good if not better than 2 Amys. No joke. Unfortunately, the crust and sauce can't make up for the overloading of cheese and under cooking. I really think if the kitchen gets the cheese and cooking time/oven temperature correct, Oro Pomodoro will produce excellent pizzas.

Oro Pomodoro received big points for their delicate, yet rich eggplant parmesan (although they need to  reduce the amount of sauce), saffron-flavored risotto balls, fresh yellow tomato salad, and plentiful cheese plate with a variety of Italian cheeses, but the rest of the menu, falls short of greatness. 

While the mozzarella bar is a noble attempt to gather favor among cheese heads like me, the portions of cheese are too small. I once ordered a melon and burrata salad of the cheese bar menu that was loaded with melon but had 6 small clumps of burrata. When you're paying an extra $3 for the burrata, you expect a little more than that on the plate. The bites that I had with the cheese were phenomenal, but I can't ignore the portion size. I wish they'd take some cheese off the pizzas and put it on their salads.

Pastas are mixed too, so order carefully. A ziti with pancetta and fava beans was a greasy mess (actually wasn't on the menu that last time I went), but the pears and robiola cheese ravioli topped with mascarpone cream was original and flavorful. I also thought the homemade rigatoni with a veal ragu is one of the better pastas I've had in a while.

Last, but not least, something new for the DC-Metro restaurant scene...Charging For Olive Oil. BWAH?! You can get samples of olive oil from different regions of Italy, varying in richness for about $3 each or a sampler for $6. Oro Pomodoro is very generous with bread because you get it with just about every dish, but what happened to just putting a bottle of olive oil on every table?

From the front of the house to the bus people, everyone seems rushed, but also attentive. What that means is that you may wait a while for that glass of wine, but they'll also notice when you only eat half of your salad. Along those same lines, the servers seem very willing to do the right thing when something comes out miscooked or wrong. 

I'll plan to keep returning to Oro Pomodoro with the deepest hopes that the pizza improves. In the mean time, I'll order carefully and carry a blow torch around with me.

Oro Pomodoro
33A Maryland Ave
Rockville, MD
No Web Site Yet, but looks like it will be

Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Plenty of parking in the town square parking garages. No valet.
Not Allowed in Montgomery County
Closest Metro:
 Tables are first come, first serve. The bar is usually empty.
Baby-Friendly Rating: 3 out of 4 diapers. It's a pizza place in the 'burbs, so Oro Pomodoro is very kid friendly. I'd give it 4 diapers if it wasn't for that a couple times I've had to go and find my own child seat.

The Kielbasa Factory

With the hope of finding a market to rival those of my hometown Philadelphia,  I recently visited The Kielbasa Factory in search of Polish comfort food. Opened in November 2007 by Krakow native Krystina Ahrens, the Kielbasa Factory brings traditional Eastern European fare to the Washington D.C. area.

Located on the second story of a small strip mall on Rockville Pike, The Kielbasa Factory still has a large Grand Opening sign hanging at its' small storefront. Once inside, I realized that at the other end of the long narrow store, there is a back entrance with parking.

The Kielbasa Factory offers a wide range of products with nearly every label and sign in Polish. Polish was spoken by all of the employees and most of the customers when I visited. Despite my difficulty in pronouncing the different types of food, the staff was very helpful and understanding. Just knowing the basics will get you what you want here.

The basics are Polish sausage called kielbasa, meat and rice stuffed cabbage called golabki (pronounced ga-WOOM-key), dark breads,jarred herring, pastries, and sweet and savory stuffed dough called pierogies.

Kielbasa is a traditional Polish sausage which is usually smoked. There are about a dozen types of kielbasa at The Kielbasa Factory, all imported at this time. Kabanosa, or skinny kielbasa, is the Polish Slim Jim. Generally more smoky and intense in flavor, it makes for a terrific snack just eaten in hand. Fresh kielbasa is also available-it's paler in comparison to the smoked kielbasa and needs to be cooked before serving. Fresh kielbasa is generally served cool, along with with horseradish as hot as you like it.

Kishka, Polish blood sausage, also looked fresh. Next to the kishka was a pan of golabki without (tomato) sauce. I also noted several types of hot dog-like sausage links and cold cuts.

A large freezer stocks several types of pierogies which come in two sizes; small and really small. There are  meat, potato and cheese, cheese, sauerkraut and sauerkraut and mushroom pierogies from a company in New York City. Also from NYC are breads which tend to be darker varieties, like rye and pumpernickel.


Finally, The Kielbasa Factory has no shortage of sweets. Traditional poppy seed rolls were tempting. Cruschiki, confectioner sugar-coated fried Polish angel wing cookies, were available in traditional white windowed boxes.  At the check out counter, there were boxes of Polish filled donuts called paczki (pronounced POONCH-key) also imported from NYC, and a very rare sight. I suspect Ahrens will be selling paczki by the dozens in the next week or so, as they are traditionally eaten before the beginning of Lent, on Paczki Day-better known as Fat Tuesday or Fastnacht Day.

On my visit, I purchased fresh kielbasa and a smoked kielbasa called wiejska (pronouced vee-YAY-ska) which had a good smoke punctuated by garlic. The fresh kielbasa was prepared by simmering it for about 30  minutes and letting it cool overnight in the refrigerator. Fresh kielbasa should be assertive with garlic and unfortunately; this was not. Paczki were filled with raspberry jam and confectioners sugar which dotted my sweater with each bite, however, the dough was dry. Getting paczki at their best is like swerving your car into the Krispy Kreme store when the "hot donuts" sign turns on. You just have to get them fresh. Last, the potato cheese pierogie were fried up in butter and onions, served with a dollop of sour cream and satisfied in a way that Mrs.T's satisfies. Not bad, just not out of my Babci's' hands.

Overall, The Kielbasa Factory has a nice selection of Polish meats and sausage, breads, sweets and imported dry goods. The pierogi selection is numerous and I'm looking forward to trying different varieties, such as the meat pierogies in my freezer. The staff is friendly and helpful and hopefully one day,they will be making kiebasa themselves!

The Kielbasa Factory

1073 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852

Mon-Fri: 11am-7pm
Sat: 11am-6pm
Sun: 11:30am-3:30pm

Moti's Falafel Stand

If you love Amsterdam Falafel and you happen to be in the Rockville area around lunchtime, you might want to check out Moti's Falafel Stand which opened recently on Rollins Ave. in Rockville. The falafel comes in freshly baked pita bread with or without hummus for $4.99. You can also top the falafel with an assortment of other condiments like cucumber salad or pickled onions from the toppings bar for example.

I stopped by after I spotted the sign "Moti's Falafel Stand - The Best Around!", next door to the Kosher Mart as I was driving by on Sunday afternoon. "Hmm, that's a bold statement" I said to myself.

When I drove by, the sign said that they were open, but by the time I parked and walked up to the door the manager was locking the door. I was let in anyway. I'm sure the falafel wasn't the freshest that it could've been on the Sunday at 4 right before closing, but it hit the spot none the less. Finish it off with a Dr. Brown's Black Cherry soda for dessert and you've got yourself a mighty fine lunch.

They also have Schwarma and Schnitzel available for $5.99 and $6.99. Or you can get a hot dog for $0.99, and if that's not enough for you, get an order of fries on the side.

Moti's Falafel Stand
184 Rollins Avenue
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 468-4840

Il Pizzico

I think it's only appropriate that I finally write about Il Pizzico. After all, I give most of the credit for my intense love of Italian food to Il Pizzico. Back when Amy and I lived in Gaithersburg, I swear we were at Il Pizzico three or four times a month, but of course, that was before I started this web site so I never got a chance to write about them.

Just about every time I tell someone about Il Pizzico, they give me a puzzled look. "So they serve Pizza?" they always ask. Although it might look like a pizza joint from the outside, and the parking lot might be a challenge to find a space, trust me, the inside is NOT like that of a pizza joint and is actually a very nice looking establishment. (And no, the name has nothing to do with pizza and they don't even have pizza on the menu.) It's easily recognized by the crowd of people in the door on a Friday or Saturday night. Il Pizzico is well known among the locals and continues to draw a crowd.

Strangely enough, Il Pizzico hasn't changed much in the past 6 years that I've lived in the D.C. area. When I returned to the restaurant for the first time in 3 years last week, I was greeted by the same hostess, the bartender was still the same, and there were still a good deal of the same servers working. One person on the staff who used to wait on us regularly, recognized us, shook my hand and said "hello". That's just the kind of place that Il Pizzico is and they love their regulars and as a regular, it's not uncommon to find a dessert or two missing off the check at the end of the night.

The atmosphere is casual -- some people wear jeans and others dress up a little more. Since they don't take reservations, if you arrive after 6:30 on a Friday or Saturday night it's likely that you'll wait although the wait in the summer is usually a little shorter than the winter months. I've heard the hostess tell people the wait is over an hour which can be a hassle, but the food is worth the wait. Just take a seat at the bar, order a glass of wine, and have a nice chat with the bartender.

To start with, I recommend trying the soup of the day which is always reliable. The pasta fagioli, a thick, starchy soup with white beans, tomato and tubular pasta and the hearty lentil soup are good examples of this. Also, the crostini can be tasty as well depending on what the topping of the day is. On my last visit, Amy had the crostini with white beans, spinach, and garlic and it was fantastic.

Of course, you can always order a half portion of pasta as an appetizer, which I do quite regularly. Start with some pappardelle with duck ragu, continue with the veal scaloppine or rack of lamb, and finish with some coffee and dessert, and you've got yourself one great meal. Or, those of you that don't have quite the appetite that I have, you might just want to order a pasta for an entrée, which is pretty common to see.

I like just about all of the pastas at Il Pizzico, except for the gnocchi which comes off too dense like the kind that you'd buy at the grocery store. Other than that, all of the pasta is excellent. My favorites range from the pappardelle with hearty duck ragu to the maltagliati with veal meat sauce. But neither of them come close to the mushroom ravioli with pistachio cream sauce. The cream sauce is thick and creamy like no other sauce you'll ever have, but the flavor is magnificent. You might think at first that the chef is putting too much sauce on the ravioli, but then you realize that you can use your bread to clean the dish off!

The meal can sometimes go downhill from there depending on what you order and I've had mixed experiences when I try to branch out from my favorites from the entrees. You generally can't go wrong with the grilled sirloin steak topped with fresh mushrooms and a red wine sauce. It's a pretty basic dish, but also a satisfying one. I also like the veal roll ups. The chef takes veal scaloppine, fills it with fontina cheese and spinach, and then rolls it up like a sausage. That's topped with a savory sage flavored veal jus. Entrée prices are all below $23 so the portions aren't enormous, but after a salad or soup and possibly a pasta course, who has room for a 20 ounce steak?

For some reason, the desserts don't seem as good as they used to be. Maybe it's just because my tastes have changed since when I used to dine at Il Pizzico. I recall there being an amazing pear tart on the dessert menu almost all the time, and that's gone now. The vanilla bean creme brulée, however, is Amy's favorite, and she's as close to a creme brulée connoisseur as you get.

It would be a shame to not tell you about the wine list, which happens to be one of the more interesting that I've seen, despite the Montgomery Country liquor board. The wines are reasonably priced and the staff always seems to know which will go well with your meal.

Il Pizzico
15209 Fredrick Rd
Rockville MD 20850
(301) 309-0610

Mon - Fri: 11:00 am to 2:30 pm
Mon - Thur: 5 pm to 9:30pm
Fri - Sat: 5 pm to 10 pm

Dress Code: Business Casual
Parking: Parking at the strip mall. If there isn't a spot out front, then try around the back.
Closest Metro:  Rockville
Reservations: Not taken.
Baby-Child friendly rating: 2 Diapers. It's not uncommon to see people there with their children, but the restaurant doesn't have an overabundance of child seats.

Amici Miei

I've been a lucky bastard since I moved to my new place considering all of the awesome restaurants that are now a 5-minute drive away -- like Joe's Noodle House, Amici Miei, India Grill, Passage to India, Faryab, David Craig, Ray's the Classics, and uh...Hooters. The wings are really good, I swear! I've probably been to Amici Miei a lot more than the others. I'll usually go a little out of my way coming home from work to pick up some takeout.

It was about a year ago that I first went to Amici Miei. I'll admit that the only reason I ever went there was because they suddenly appeared on Washingtonian's 100 Best (Yes, I have read the latest 100 Best and like the rest of you I'm a little blown away by some of the restaurants that were included this year, but that's another topic and one of my favorite restaurants, Il Pizzico, was missing again). I don't remember much from one year ago, let alone one month ago, but one of the things I do remember was how good the service was.

The service never seems to suffer no matter how busy the restaurant is. One night when Amy and I stopped by sans reservation, the host was able to squeeze us in and despite the restaurant being almost completely full, our service was spotless and the server still managed to maintain an amicable attitude despite probably being overloaded with tables.

Amici Miei is a neighborhood restaurant. I say that because it's family friendly and inexpensive, and not necessarily because it's easy to get a table. During the week, you shouldn't have a problem getting a table, but in the weekend, you might wait a while and you're wise to make a reservation. But even then, sometimes you might find yourself out of luck depending on the size of your party. I tried calling last weekend with a party of six on a Saturday, and there was nothing available.

With Italian food, you all know that I'm all about the pasta. Amici Miei's standout pasta dish is their rich, homemade veal and chestnut agnolotti. At $14.95, it's the perfect winter dish, and comes served in a scant pool of veal and rosemary reduction sauce. Another favorite of mine is the gnocchi with pillow-y soft potato dumblings topped with a thick boar and tomato ragu. I also appreciate that most of the pastas on the menu are homemade. But that isn't always a good thing in the case of the lasagna, with homemade lasagna noodles that have a tendency to get lost with all the cheese because they're thin and soft -- it just comes off as overcooked to me.

I've found that the entrees can be a mixed experience. As a basic rule I have to add some salt, which is possibly because my palate is becoming more immune to the flavor of salt, and since there are salt and pepper shakers on the table I guess it's good for the more health conscious. There's almost always a seafood special available like a whole branzino or some other type of sea bass, which is good, but not much different than how I can make it myself at home. In general though, I've always found the seafood dishes like the trout and turbot to be fresh, flakey and flavorful. Sometimes the accompaniments just don't seem to have a lot of thought put into them, like in the case of the green lentils that come on the side of the turbot that just don't seem to belong on the plate.

Veal is done very well by the chef. Both veal dishes come with a creamy polenta on the side, which is bland on it's own, but when you mix it with the other ingredients on the plate, it can be heavenly. As any neighborhood restaurant should, the chef keeps things interesting with an extensive specials menu. There are usually 2 or 3 choices for specials for each course which keep the regulars coming back.

I regret to say that I typically steer away from desserts at Amici Miei. I've been able to try most of them, and they're usually either dry or lacking the sweetness that's needed to complete my meal. Good examples of this are the ricotta cheesecake which is more cakey than creamy and a pear tarte with a dry crust and bland filling. It's too bad because I so love desserts with pears! If you find yourself craving something sweet, you can't go wrong with the tiramisu which is a traditional version or a tiramisu and is bound to please just about anyone. (Or just take an alternative route and order the cheese plate.)

Our bills for the two of us are usually under $100 and that's usually with a mid-range priced bottle of wine, dessert, and coffee which makes definitely qualifies Amici Miei in the cheap eats category.

Amici Miei
Located in Potomac Woods Plaza
1093 Seven Locks Rd
Rockville, MD 20854

(301) 545-0966

Mon-Sat: 11:30 AM to 2:30PM

Sun-Thu: 5 PM to 10 PM
Fri-Sat: 5 PM to 10:30 PM

Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Plenty of parking at the strip mall. 
Closest Metro:  You'll have to drive.
Reservations: Taken and recommended on weekends.
Baby-Child friendly rating: 3 Diapers. The restaurant is very child friendly and it's common to see people there with their children.

Joe's Noodle House

It's no secret that Joe's Noodle House in Rockville is one of the better Chinese (or Szechuan) restaurants in the area, if not the whole country, but on Friday night, I found myself eating there for the very first time. Amy and I were on our way back from a trip to stock up on formula, diapers and other necessities, so we were looking for a place that was kid friendly and quick, for it was late (about 9-ish) and Noah was going to be getting tired soon.

I  really had no idea if Joe's Noodle House would meet those requirements, but we gave it a try anyway. I was pretty confident that it would since I know several people with children that love Joe's Noodle House which lies hidden at the back left side of it's Rockville Pike strip mall location.

As I suspected, Joe's Noodle House was everything we needed for a night out with Noah with child seats, a casual atmosphere, and little child plates and spoons just for children. We made a rookie mistake though. We sat down and waited for a server to come and wait on us. And waited. And waited. "Do I need to put down my menu?" I was thinking to myself. Then just as Amy noticed the sign up front that said "Order and Pay Here", one of the servers came up to us and pointed out that we needed to order up front. Oh, right. Duh.

Like many Chinese restaurants, the menu at Joe's Noodle House is large with an extensive list of noodle dishes and house specialties. You'll find the typical garlic or sesame chicken, but then you'll also find dishes like shredded pork tripe, or homemade bacon with leeks. Even after looking at the menu for as long as I did, I still couldn't decide what to get. My final choice for my entree was a little unwise.

Let me give you one tip. When you order a dish, and the woman at the cash register says, "Oooh, that's a very spicy dish. Do you want me to have them tone that down a bit for you?"

Say YES!

Dsc00284 I  made the mistake of saying "no" when I ordered the Szechuan Spicy and Dry Beef Saute and I still feel my stomach lining of eroding. I love spicy food, but this was hot as hell. There were so many peppercorns that my tongue turned numb and I couldn't taste the food I was eating, making the dish almost unenjoyable. But, in the end I got what I deserved...I guess.

All of the other dishes were enjoyed completely: a spicy cellophane noodle with finely ground pork, a unique salad appetizer with chopped leak stem, ground pork, black beans, and jalapenos, and some fluffy steam buns, which were the sole, mild dish that we ordered. I couldn't get enough of the cellophane noodles, which came out very hearty and full of the flavor of the pork and whatever liquid they were cooked in.

The three appetizers and two entrees ended up being far too much food for the two of us, and we ended up taking a lot home. We could've easily eaten there for under $25, which makes Joe's Noodle House one of the best bargain restaurants that I've eaten at in a long time. There isn't a single dish on the menu for over $11. Even the whole steamed fish is $10.95 and I would've ordered that instead of the spicy beef, but I hesitated because I wondered how good an $11 whole fish could be. I'll probably order it on my next trip back though.

Joe's Noodle House
1488-C Rockville Pike
Rockville, Maryland
(301) 881-5518
Web Site

Monday - Friday 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday, Sunday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Dress Code: Very Casual
Parking: Plenty in the strip mall parking lot.
Smoking: Not Allowed.
Closest Metro: Twinbrook
Reservations: Not taken..
Baby friendly rating: 4 diapers. Child seats and a casual atmosphere make this a great place to bring a baby. 

India Grill

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'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.

India Grill
785 Rockville Pike # K
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 279-7700

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.