Location: Taste of India, 2621 Connecticut Avenue NW, DC.
Cost: $38.71 before tip (this included drinks, entrees, naan, dessert, and tax).
Rating: Don't go. Ever.
I took my sister to Taste of India tonight, the middle restaurant in a trio of Indian lunch buffet/dinner places directly across from the Woodley Park Zoo/Adams Morgan metro stop. As the three restaurants all looked pretty identical, and all had the same amount of people crowded into their outdoor patios, my sister asked why I had chosen this one over the two others.
"I looked at the menus," I told her, "and this one was the cheapest."
I ordered baingan bartha,and my sister had the chicken biryani.
The biryani wasn't at all spicy or particularly pungent (which my sister appreciated -- she doesn't like heavily spiced foods), and tasted mostly of cashew. The baingan bartha had about twice as much onion and garlic as it did eggplant, and tasted mostly of cilantro.
I also ordered gulab jamuns for dessert, which my sister had never seen or tasted. When she saw them -- that is, it, as the entire palm-sized dish was filled with one enormous, lumpy gulab jamun -- she said "I'm not tasting that until after you do."
I tried to explain. "It's not supposed to look like a --"
"Shh!" She stopped me. "Don't say that word in the restaurant."
I tasted it.
"You don't have to eat this," I told her. "In fact, I'd rather you didn't."
But she tried a bite, and then another one. And then she stopped. And then we left.
As soon as we were out of hearing range, she gave her verdict:
"That turd thing was nasty."
It took just about a half-hour for me to become sick, and then five minutes for me to become sick again. Hooray!
I guess cheapest doesn't always mean best, or even good. In this case, cheapest meant indigestible.