Kumar Iyer has spent years in the hospitality industry, managing restaurants aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and working the floor at local restaurants. He learned how to take care of people during these experiences, but more importantly, he codified what he thought made a great restaurant. When the time was right, he brought all of those ideas to his own culinary venture, Rangoli. From the laying of the bricks to the creation of the menu, Kumar made sure every element matched his lofty expectations.
Today, Kumar and his team serve up an eclectic array of Indian cuisine gathered from all over the continent. They prepare an exhaustive selection of curries, including a Konkani recipe called chicken xacuti, which uses flavors such as poppy seeds, fennel, and a tart fruit known as kokum in its creamy sauce. They also roast meat in traditional tandoori clay ovens, the blazing-hot vessels known for imparting their searing heat to lamb kebabs, whole chickens, and slightly smaller, more adorable clay ovens.
When creating their expansive menu of what the Washingtonian lauds as a "representative selection of the finer cookery of India," recently merged with Harvest of India, SupperClub of India's chefs infuse each dish of northern Indian cuisine with their own personal styles. Meat-laden dishes include jumbo prawns marinated with mint before being grilled over charcoal and chicken cooked in a blend of almonds and cream. Along with their solid lineup of entrees, eggplant smothered in spicy tomato onion masala and other vegetable-based dishes are among items that inspired the Washingtonian to name SupperClub of India the "perfect restaurant" for vegetarians. Meals unfold in a dining room where Indian music underscores the sound of skilled diners chewing in syncopation.
A charcoal clay oven roars to life every morning in Silk’s kitchen in preparation for a day full of roasting meats and vegetables and baking fresh breads including roti and naan. The authentic tandoor prepares a menu rich in traditional flavors derived from spices imported from all over India. A dash of pure saffron, wild black cardamom, and cinnamon enhances platters of long-grain basmati rice, a standard side dish that enhances lamb, seafood, chicken, and vegetarian dishes alike. Waiters shuttle chosen plates out to a regal dining room full of carved, throne-like dining chairs, gilded statues of deities, and napkins fancifully folded into fork-size saris.
The chefs at Supper Club of India create authentic North Indian cuisine ranging from clay-oven dishes to specialties such as the gosht kolhapuri, a hot, spicy curry. Whether dishes are made with lamb, chicken, or vegetables, each is prepared in the traditional style, as it was for the kings of India or anyone walking in the kitchen wearing a crown.
Masala Wok's expansive menu features new Asian, Thai, and Indian flavors to help diners recreate the wondrous lies of Marco Polo, gentleman fabricator. Accompany your stomach's journey down the Spice Road with an appetizer of zesty battered chicken lollipops, an Indian take on wings (four for $4.99, eight for $8.49), before choosing your favorite flavor-corner of the East with a main course. Try a subcontinental delicacy such as the spicy southern curry with red-pepper-bedecked fish, shrimp, chicken, lamb, or paneer in a mustard-coconut sauce ($8.99), or head for steamy Southeast Asian environs with the Thai-influenced spicy basil plate ($8.50 for chicken, $8.35 paneer, $9.50 shrimp or fish). Lock lips with the orange chicken, stir-fried with scallions and carrots in orange sauce ($8.50), or skewer your stomach's overwhelming sense of emptiness with a chicken malai kabob—yogurt-marinated boneless chicken kabobs grilled with cheese, spices, and cilantro and served with rice and naan ($8.99).
Northern and southern Indian influences merge at Mayuri Indian Cuisine, where the chefs use both the northern-style tandoor and traditional south Indian spices to create a variety of dishes. Guests can opt for meats and breads prepared in a clay oven, along with curries made with freshly ground spices, and vegetables and meats slowly simmered in sauce.