Monday, September 29, 2008

Where's the Indian cuisine in Silver spring?

Well, this weekend being a special occassion (year and a half anniversary with my boyfriend) Justin and I decided to spend a night out on the town and take ourselves to a place that serves our absolute favorite cuisine-an Indian restaurant. We have been on a tight budget lately so we set about sorting through my coupons from the entertainment book to see if anything was appealing (it was surprisingly hard to find a place that wasn't a fast food restaurant or a chain in this book)and we came upon Bombay Gaylord. The coupon seemed decent so we turned to the trusty old internet and found out that it was one of two listed Indian restaurants in Silverspring, along with Ghar-E-Kabab which didn't sound very Indian or very appealing. Justin and I were more than willing to give it a shot (mostly I went along with it because I knew that The Taste of Morocco was nearby and I am always more than willing to go to a place that incorporates dates into their dishes, mmm).

Though not directly in the downtown Silver Spring shopping center it was a mere few blocks away and as we were walking from our parking spot we passed by two delectable looking restaurants (both of whose main focus seemed to be chic bars) Olazzo and Nicaro. Being a foodie I couldn't resist stopping at each one and reviewing the menu. Olazzos menu looked like a classic Italian menu with no creative flair that I could see. Necaro mouth was watering reading the menu and my heart was breaking over the prices of the main entrees. Justin pulled me away and we kept on going until we reached Bombay Gaylord. The place was empty. It was saturday night, 7, 7:30 ish, prime time for dining and there were no customers. I quickly grabbed a menu, perused it, and then ushered Justin out to reassess our options and take a little walk around the block. After a not so quick stop at the Halloween store in downtown silverspring and despairing over the fact that I had already been to all the good restaurants there I decided to head back to Bombay Gaylord and have a taste.

The place was a little busier, two more tables having customers, so we sat down and tried to decide exactly what we wanted. The menu was the same thing you would see at any other Indian restaurant but lacking any kind of house specialty or dish that really caught the eye. Justin opted for the lamb vindaloo because it was described as having a sweet and sour yogurt sauce-something you dont normally associate vindaloo with. I asked the waiter what he recommended and before I finished my sentence he was pointing at the chicken tikka masala. I know this is a good dish, I have gotten it at other restaurants. Though I usually prefer to get something new I listened to the waiter and ordered the dish. The two samosas-vegetarian and meat-came out first. I was surprised how good the meat one was since I am not used to seeing ground beef on Indian menus. The crust of the samosas were tasty and the meat was well spiced while the inside of the vegetarian samosa was still cold from the freezer/refrigerator. I was sad when they were gone-particularly because I appreciated the green sauce and pickled carrots that came with them. The mango lassi that I ordered was unusually sour, as if they had used greek yogurt to it. Justin loved it and I liked it too-it was very different and filling.

The main dishes arrived soon after we were finished with the appetizers and I was surprised to see my very red chicken tikka masala had a grilled smoky look to it. The sauce also tasted pleasingly smoky and very different from other chicken tikka masalas I have had. I wouldn't necessarily say I liked this one better but I did like it. Justins lamb vindaloo was sufficiently tender but the sauce was much more sweet than sour and looked more like a tomato gravy than a yogurt sauce. I don't think I have ever seen a more fried, flattened naan than the one we ordered that was supposedly stuffed with potato and some other unidentifiable greens. Poor Justin, I should have ordered the meat stuffed one instead but it would probably have been jsut as flat and greasy, just better spiced. I was expecting a bit more spiciness and flavor to accompany my dishes but somehow it didn't feel Indian enough, like this was an Indian restaurant catering to american tastes (hence the smokiness of my dish, the greasiness of the bread and the beefy menu).

When the waiter brought us our bill we were about to say something and he said-'let me guess, a coupon?' before we even had hinted at the fact. I suppose most people go there and come back only if they have a coupon. This says a lot when there are only two Indian restaurants in Silver Spring.

In the end I came to terms with the fact that our meal was at least half of what it would have cost to go to Nicaro for dinner, that we were probably more full than we would have been if we had went there and we had plenty of left overs to feed both of us for another meal. Though a good deal with a coupon I felt like I could have made similar food myself in my very own kitchen. I have thus convinced Justin to take me to Indique or IndeBlue for our next Indian adventure. I can't wait!

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