Indique: DC Excursion #1

by janet on November 10th, 2006

I went to DC on a businessy trip, and part of the swanktastic treatment I got was expense-able meals. Score! The original plan for Thursday dinner was to go to Zaytinya to check out the tapas and unisex bathrooms (yes!). Somehow, however, our staff support ended up making reservations at Indique. I love Indian food and Hillary Clinton has dined there so I was not too sad. Unisex bathrooms are overrated anyway. So we Metrorailed it from the Mayflower, where we were staying, to the restaurant.

Indique looks very modern-classy from the outside, but inside it looks like many other Indian restaurants I’ve been to. Intricatey, tapestry-ey, with the one exception being that there is a second floor that surrounds an open courtyard-ish center, where we were seated.

I opened the menu. Hmmm. I was not used to the prospect of not ordering the cheapest (or second-to-cheapest, since I don’t want the server to know I’m cheap) wine. I chose the Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon (2003). Exciting.

The wine came. Poor thing, it had to live up to my very high expectations. But really, can there be THAT big of a taste differential between an $8 glass of wine and a $14 glass? Probably not. Actually, definitely not. The wine that I was expecting was socks-knocking. This wine was fine. It was almost salty-tasting, not very grapey (of course, it was a white). One thing I expect from expensive-ier wines is that they drink like water without an alcoholy aftertaste. This one didn’t accomplish that.

But I dislike pretentious wine descriptions, so I shall move on.

Again, out of habit I looked at the cheapie entrees, before realizing that I could order whatever I wanted. For comparison to Bombay Bite purposes I wanted to order the white-people-friendly Chicken Tikka Curry, but fuck that. I decided to go for broke with the Tamilnad Fish Curry, (I realize now that the fish curry is only $1 more than the chicken curry) even if it did contain the word “nad.” This was a curry with “fish fillets cooked with fenugreek, onions, tomato, and tamarind.” I love tamarind (I go apeshit over those lead-filled Mexican candies) and fenugreek sounded exotic so it was a cinch.

But FIRST! Soup soup soup! Another luxury brought to me by the expense report! One of my favorite things to slurp in college was mulligatawny at the Ivy Room, and even though Cornell has the greatest dining hall food EVAR, I imagined that real mulligatawny from a real Indian restaurant would be even better. My pal BSW ((short for Black Something Wonderful)) got it too, while other palie Captain got the Bisque a la Indique (a seafood broth with ginger, curry leaves, and coconut).

Bravo on the presentation. The bowl reminiscent of a nun’s habit – very cute. Not sure what the cone-thingie was for, but it was a nice touch. The flavor of the soup was not a nice touch. More like the bad touch that I learned about in Kindergarten.

OK, it wasn’t that bad, but it was very flavorless! It was a clear broth with nothing in it. I have nothing against straight broths (miso soup, guys!) but if you’re going to throw some broth at me, it better be yumtastic. Instead it was pretty bland. I fixed it by squeezing a ton of lemon in it (perhaps that’s what I was supposed to do anyway?) and also several spoonfuls of the green stuff (you know, the sauce with coriander, mint, etc.?). It gave the soup a kick it needed. I also crushed the cone into the soup, a lá tortilla soup, but it didn’t quiiiiite work.

I suspect Captain’s soup wasn’t that great either, since he didn’t even come close to finishing it. I would have tasted it but I am an Epi-pen carrying allergy bomb and shrimp is my mortal enemy.

Onwards to the curry:

The curry presentation was delightful. A nice bowl of curry at twelve o’clock, salad at three, rice at nine, and bonus curry at six! The smaller bowl was dal, a curry made of lentils. It was creamy and buttery and very delicious. I was thankful for the mellowness of this curry as a counterpoint to my fish curry. The fish curry tasted nothing like tamarind, sadly. It was very sour and the flavor was shallow. The fish was appropriately tender and flakey, but the lack of depth in the flavoring rendered the fish tasteless. Very disappointing. Maybe they have such a large turnover (big lines the whole time we were there) that they don’t have adequate time to simmer their curries enough?

Captain, being a whitey on top of being a pirate, smartly ordered the Chicken Tikka Makhani, so I did get to taste it. It was an entirely different curry from any chicken curry I’ve ever had, so I can’t compare, but it was also disappointing. Perhaps better than my tamilnad, but I don’t think it’s anything I would order.

I don’t live in DC so I don’t feel so guilty thrashing this restaurant. I do feel guilty for looking a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, so let me state for the record that I am insanely thrilled to have a free meal. I’d choose Barack over Hillary any day, so I am not so sad that Hil and I apparently do not have the same culinary taste.

On to DC excursion #2, in which I encounter more fish. Will I also encounter Barack? Stay tuned…

3512 -14 Connecticut Avenue. NW
Washington D.C. 20008
202 244 6600

4 Responses to “Indique: DC Excursion #1”

  1. BSW says:

    One thing that was left out of the review was the delicious nan/non/nun bread. Our German friend went completely batshit for this stuff and ordered enough to soak up a warm pint of beer. However, before we finished eating it, a puff of smoke appeared, and when the air cleared our bread was gone and all that was left was a note reading, “Ninja, beeyotch.”

  2. [...] For our second expensable DC gastronomic adventure (see here for the first), our fearless leader BWS chose Thai. All day during the meetings he kept trying to remember the name of his favorite Thai place. He said that the name was something obvious, and had “Thai” in it, and the answer he came up with was that the restaurant was called “Thai Food.” [...]

  3. simon says:

    i fucking love nan/non/nun bread. sorry for commenting on a comment on and not the post itself…

    Your pics are getting better in each post, you should publish a book soon.

  4. janet says:

    BSW: I did forget about the naan, which was on the crispy side, just like I like it, dripping with ghee (clarified butter, yummi)! Thanks for reminding, and also reminding me about the whole ninja business.

    “Our German friend” has a pseudonym which you will see in the next DC post – it is TI, short for Thousand Island, which will be funny to only you and me.

    S/T: Pics 2, 3, and 6 are not mine, but thank you~ I’m finally getting the hang of the good ol’ S7C, though I still have to take three million shots of every dish.

    Wait till you see the scary fish in the next DC post.

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