Spice 6: Naan Pizza

Spice 6 Naan Pizza

There’s nothing better than food that proves you wrong. Fast casual CAN be flavorful. Fast casual CAN mean from-scratch cooking. Fast casual CAN be so good that it warrants a trip down Rhode Island Avenue to Hyattsville, MD.

Meet Spice 6, a fast casual Indian restaurant that only shares one thing in common with the Chipotle concept: Speed. Spice 6 hasn’t conformed to be bland. Those who fervently avoid shy spices and mild flavor will see what we mean, especially if they go off menu by requesting Vik’s hot sauce.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Naan Pizza is innovative, yet familiar enough that Indian newbies will feel comfortable. Load up a freshly baked round of naan with a sauce (Tikka Masala, Kadai Masala, Korma Masala or Spinach Masala) plus a protein (chicken, lamb, veggies, tofu or house made paneer cheese). Complete your pizza with a few more toppings and mozzarella cheese before it goes back in the oven for a hot sec. Then, BOOM New Delhi Domino’s to the face.

In choosing your protein remember that lamb is the reigning defending, undefeated, undisputed champion of Indian food. It’s not like chicken, which just sits there soaking up sauce. The owner, Vik Singh, must really trust his Nepali Chef, Upendra Thapaliya. Being a strict vegetarian, Vik’s never tried the meaty parts of his menu. Don’t worry Vik, your chef’s got it under control.

Spice 6 Chaat

Another top pick is the chaat, a typical Indian street food. In a year when street food is king (even Anthony Bordain is opening up a street food hall in NYC), the chaat is a must try. Fried strips of naan are topped with a savory pile of chickpeas, herbs and sauces (the best of which is a sticky sweet tamarind chutney). Wash it all down with a mango lassi.

Naan pizza not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

You might also like Rasika or Bombay Club.

Rasika West End: Palak Chaat

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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.