Every morning at Ghar-E-Kabab, chefs Chandasar Ray and Chetnath Bhandari enact a delicate dance across the kitchen. Chef Ray pulls Indian and Nepalese spices from the spice rack for his simmering curry sauces. Meanwhile, Chef Bhandari alternates between fanning the flames of his earthen tandoor oven, and kneading batches of sweet naan dough, a traditional South Asian flat bread.
This daily ritual reflects the chefs’ mission to uphold traditional cooking methods they mastered in their native India and Nepal. Chef Bhandari originally arrived in DC to work as a chef for the Royal Nepalese Embassy, and he brings his revered attention to detail to his own restaurant. The duo crafts every entree from scratch, from the fluffy breads to the creamy yogurt sauces. But although they strive to follow traditional recipes, they tweak them for health: meats marinate in olive oil, and only local, organic produce simmers in the tandoor oven.
The fragrant aroma of freshly ground ginger and cinnamon wafts from Akbar’s Restaurant’s kitchen, mingling with the smoky scent of meats simmering in a traditional tandoori oven. Rife with spices, buttery marinades, and cream-based sauces, the eatery's Northern Indian cuisine nabbed the title of Best Indian Restaurant from City Paper’s Best of Baltimore 2010. In the dining room, romance sparks amid classical Indian music and walls laden with traditional art and lists of pun-free pickup lines.
Plates at Kabab Hut brim with traditional Bangladeshi dishes including curries, tandoori chicken, and skewered kebabs. A selection of 27 combo meals load these spicy, simmering entrees onto beds of rice along with sides such as fries or naan. The eatery also welcomes families with a kids' menu that reduces each dish to smaller portions without the need to root around for the shrink ray Mom keeps in her purse.
With halal meats and fresh vegetables, the chefs at Royal Kabab craft more than 60 dishes of Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi origin. Their predominantly traditional items include mango lassi, tandoori chicken, lamb vindaloo, and vegetable biryani. They also whip up less familiar entrees, including five vegetarian curries and Gobi Manchurian, whose fried cauliflower famously portrayed Frank Sinatra's role in the all-food remake of The Manchurian Candidate. Visitors can take their feasts to go or eat in Royal Kabab's cozy dining room equipped with complementary WiFi.
At Bombay Gaylord, the specialty kabobs are first marinated in a blend of Indian spices before being baked in the tandoor oven, giving them a nice charred flavor. The kitchen also simmers chicken and seafood in fragrant sauces before ladling them into bronzed dishes with gilded spoons. Stacks of fluffy naan bread await to soak up these sauces, so guests can reserve their napkins to wipe tears from the eyes of a friend who chose a different restaurant that night.