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A vegetarian friend highly recommended Tandoori Nights in Clarendon, so when a Google Offer came up for it, I jumped on it. In all the years I’d lived in DC, I had found only two DC restaurants where it seemed worth eating Indian food outside of my house – Bombay Club and Rasika (reviews coming soon), and I was curious to try Tandoori Nights.

The decor is lovely and and my hopes for the meal rose when our server brought out appadams with three different tasty chutneys to start us off. Yes, we’d already dug in by the time I took the picture.

cilantro-mint, tamarind, and mustard-vegetable chutneys

Our samosa appetizer (just your standard potatoes and peas samosa) was solid and seemed to be freshly made.

Sadly, it all went downhill from there. I remembered reading a friend’s reviews of Seattle-area Indian restaurants, and how he used palak paneer as his control dish – he tried that everywhere for consistency. I decided to do the same and ordered that. Eric opted for paneer tikka masala. We also sprung for some plain naan and a laccha paratha (multi-layered whole wheat flat bread).

So…the breads were fine. But the curries were, I’m sorry to say, tasteless. At least the paneer tikka masala had a good color (those red pieces are the paneer) and a bit more flavor, much improved by a liberal sprinkling of salt.

But the palak paneer tasted as grey as it looked. The paneer seemed to have been simply cut up and stirred in, rather than simmered in the sauce. (I like to pre-roast mine with ghee and then simmer, but that’s just me.)

Needless to say, I’d skip Tandoori Nights. It might be a while before I try another new Indian place, but for now I think I’ll see about a reservation at Rasika.

2800 Clarendon Boulevard #2800
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 248-8333