Bombay Club: Club Thali

Bombay Club Thali

It a small plates world, Bombay Club offers the Indian way to eat a little bit of everything. These samplers are known as “thalis” and the Best Thing on the Menu is most definitely the Club Thali – fish, chicken, lamb, vegetable, dal, lemon rice and raita. Thali eaters are privy to the holy trinity of curry proteins: chicken, lamb and fish along with veggie accompaniments like lentils and spinach as well as the requisite starches, naan and rice. We have yet to go to another Indian restaurant in DC that offers thalis, but will certainly be on the lookout. For more on thalis, check out CNN’s coverage of Mumbai’s best eats.

Bombay Club was Ashok Bajaj’s first restaurant, opening its doors before Rasika and Rasika West End, which also serve delicious and adventurous Indian, but with less of a Washington feel. Steps from the White House, Bombay Club has a real special air to it. The dining room is elegant, the service is top notch and the quiet atmosphere lends itself to easy conversation.

Our waiter informed us that Bombay Club is of great importance to Bajaj, who visits daily (sometimes several times) to ensure that everything is meticulously in its place. This makes sense seeing that the restaurant has hosted the likes of U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, President Nelson Mandela, Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford to name a few.

Bombay Club Lamb Shank

In addition to being a little more formal and stately than its Indian cousins Rasika and Rasika West End, Bombay Club is also a little more spicy. We particularly liked the lamb shank dish, which tasted like Christmas on a plate and brought some gentle heat.

Club Thali not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

Rasika West End: Palak Chaat

Image 1
Two is better than one. We’re so happy that Rasika West End was born last March, increasing the opportunity to eat DC’s best and most posh Indian cuisine. Rasika and Rasika West End sibling restaurants share most of the same dishes, but Rasika West End is bigger and boasts an outdoor seating area, which the Penn Quarter location is lacking. In a city obsessed with sidewalk dining, this may give West End the edge.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Palak Chaat Crispy baby spinach / yogurt / tamarind / date should come as no surprise. We would lose all credibility if we didn’t select Chef Vikram Sunderam’s crispy spinach delicacy that amateur chefs in DC have been trying to recreate since 2005. Our friends at local blog PoPville even bravely shared a recipe to help to recreate Palak Chaat at home. Cheers to the chefs at Rasika who are able to make something fried impossibly light and something sour incredibly sweet.

Rasika’s Palak Chaat was featured on WETA’s Guide to Fine Dining special. Click here to watch the special online. The Rasika portion begins at 42:40.  This packed one-hour episode of food porn is fit for all DC foodies to watch.

If you like Rasika’s Palak Chaat, we recommend you also try the Avocado Banana Chaat found in the same section of the menu.  The dish features perfectly ripe avocados and grilled bananas in a sweet and sour date chutney sauce.

Palak Chaat not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.