Inside the Lotte at Herndon Centre is a takeout window for a very serious vegetarian menu of mostly South Indian specialties. (There are other choices as well) Particularly interesting is that the South Indian menu covers three distinct cuisines: Ganga, Godavari, and Cauvery.
With so many choices, I went for the Malabar Mushroom Curry listed under the Cauvery section. Everyhting is made fresh.
It is thick, creamy, and chunky, with some deep, complex spices and considerable heat. Far more than what I normally expect. There were curry leaves in the dish.
It would take a long time to go through the whole menu, but I have the feeling it would be worth it. The curry I had is near the top of my list for Indian finds in the area.
Steve, Have you found any good Indian restaurants closer in – esp. in DC or MD?
Go to Chettinadu in Rockville. From my old Chowhound posts:
Chettinadu is a rare source for excellent appaam, fermented rice pancakes made into the shape of bowls and then filled with the curry of your choice. Get the egg added! I am not sure where else you can reliably find this.
Two essential dishes are:
chettinadu naattukozhi varuval
The kotthu parata is a shredded bread and comes out like a savory bread pudding. The varuval is a dry, spicy dish of chicken on the bone. These make a terrific one-two punch.
Chili onion dhosa was so buttery and rich.
I went googling for something like this here and found Saravanaa Bhavan, a chain with a dozen US locations, one here in Houston and one in the suburb of Sugar Land; none are listed for VA.
Googling for Ganga and Godivari points to this restaurant but not Cauvery.
But the food looks good and familiar to me. I’ll be trying to check it out. Thanks for highlighting it.
The Singaporean part of the menu is especially intriguing. Sending to my friends who live nearby!
Forgot about my single favorite Indian dish in the area:
At Passage to India in Bethesda, go for the Palakachi Takatli Bhaji: Maharashtrian style spinach cooked in buttermilk with peanuts.
The best thing to order with this is their fruit chaat, Kand Sev Salad (Baked yams and crunchy apples with fresh herbs and lime. )
That should be the closest to you.
Let me know if your friends have any favorites they are willling to share! Especially specific dishes, though if they love any places entirely that is great too.
We ate here this past Spring when my niece was visiting her parents in Reston. She is vegetarian and loves Indian. I reached out to a reputable source who lives in VA and this restaurant was highly recommended. It was too long ago for me to recall the exact dishes we ate, but there were no disappointments. I would return in a heartbeat, next time I have the opportunity to get out that way.