Reviewed by Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Anna Spiegel, and Cynthia Hacinli
Sudhir Seth is the man behind one of the area’s best Indian restaurants, Bethesda’s solemn, elegantly appointed Passage to India. This is his more affordable place, where he allows his kitchen to loosen up a bit. At both, the spicing in the gravies—witness the aromatic chicken nilgiri—is painstakingly conjured and complex. But here’s where you’ll find the kind of small plates you might crave after one too many Kingfishers: meaty wings bronzed in the tandoori oven, a chili-cheese toast that tastes like Welsh rare-bit gone subcontinental, and Snugly wrapped kathi rolls. Many are even cheaper on the happy-hour menu, weekdays from 5 to 7.
Also good: Khaman dhokla (pillowy chickpea-flour snacks); papri chaat, a potato-and-chickpea salad with yogurt and chutney; lamb-and-apricot stew; chicken tikka masala; baingan bharta (roasted-eggplant stew).