Everyone gets bored with eating the same old thing, but that's no excuse for stomping up and down on pasta, burgers, or grapes. Manage culinary frustration in a more adult way with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Indian Cuisine at Curry Mantra in Fairfax, Virginia.
In the Indian tradition, Curry Mantra fires up a tandoor oven to heat specialty chicken, lamb, and goat dishes prepared with curry and displayed on an extensive menu, earning it recognition from Northern Virginia magazine as one of its Fifty Best Restaurants of 2011. The tandoori chicken's ($15) interplay of yogurt, garlic paste, and ginger piques palates, and its boneless nature, like wearing a mouth guard, encourages biting with abandon. The Washington Post's Tom Sietsema lavished plaudits on the eatery for its literal transparency in allowing patrons to peer through a window into the kitchen, where chefs oversee the clay oven's flavor-imparting flames. Feel free to taste the barbecued tandoori salmon ($16) and complement its seafood zest with garlic naan ($4), a palindrome experience almost as tasty as eating racecar. Goat biryani ($16) captures culinary imaginations with ingredients such as basmati rice, saffron, and nuts, which clients forklift from plates resting atop elegant, white tablecloths.
Diverse wall art, including sconce-like light fixtures and a painting of henna-festooned hands, ensures guests won't have to glare at or draw pictures of their clients for an hour. In addition to incorporating curries from North and South India, Curry Mantra caters to dedicated vegetarians with eight meatless entrees.
Curry Mantra 1
You might momentarily forget your hunger when you step into Curry Mantra's striking, newly expanded dining room, where vivid Indian artwork speckles the warm orange and yellow walls. Your appetite is reawakened, however, when you peer into the large kitchen window and catch sight of juicy morsels of lamb, salmon, and chicken waiting to be cooked in tandoori ovens. When discussing his decision to install a kitchen window with a food critic Tom Sietsema from the Washington Post, owner Asad Sheikh explained, "I want my customers to see what's going on in the tandoor." He's proud of the work that goes on in his kitchen, which earned Curry Mantra a spot on Northern Virginia magazine's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, its Best of NoVa list in 2015, and Washingtonian Magazine's Best of Fairfax 2013. His chefs pull culinary inspiration from all four corners of India, folding lamb, chicken, and seafood into a wide variety of flavorful curries and fiery vindaloos. To craft their goat biryani rice dish, the chefs use a generations-old recipe passed down to Sheikh from his grandmother, peppering aromatic basmati rice and tender goat meat with saffron and nuts.
Silverware clinks against glass tabletops in the dining room, where diners sip on glasses of wine and creamy mango lassi. Come lunchtime, a buffet table will stretch across the room, lined with silver trays of freshly made dishes. On the weekends, the eatery hosts live music, as traditional flutists and drummers play classical Indian music and the theme from Three's Company upon request.
9984 Main St.
Fairfax, Virginia 22031