A beautiful spring evening, cool breeze, distant voices, soft sounds of instrumental music & the fragrant aroma of Indian food wafting out to the sidewalk…. for a minute I was transported back to my days in India when our entire extended family would go out to dinner. That was exactly how I felt when I walked up to Pind Indian two weeks back.
PIND Indian Cuisine in Ashburn, VA is a new Indian/Pakistini restaurant quite unlike others. Walking into the restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised by the modern industrial-style decor with an Indian touch. As the hostess walked us to our seat past the open well-stocked bar, the paintings on the wall caught our eye. Large colorful and modern depictions of Indian vignettes line two walls in the back of the restaurant.
Drinks first: the bar menu had Indian beers including one that was gluten-free & organic! Amongst the interesting cocktails, I enjoyed the Punjabi Pom-Pom – a combination of gin, Grand-Marnier, pomegranate liquor & juice, soda & mint.
Indian Summer – Rum + Pineapple Juice + Orange Juice
Gluten-free & Organic Beer
Rather than the standard papad platter, complementary naan with a trio of dips – sweet chutney, raita & mint chutney- was brought to the table by friendly (and good looking!) staff.
Naan with sweet chutney, raita & mint chutney
The Tandoori sampler included lamb kebab, chicken tikka and mint chicken kabab on a bed of colorful grilled vegetables. The meat was tender & moist; the spices more suited to Western palates. South Asian & heat-loving diners might want to ask for extra spicy. Between two adults and a 11-year old, we should have probably ordered another serving.
All Tandoori dinner entrees came with sauteed veggies & a choice of Tangy Mango (mild), Tikka Masala (medium) or Spicy Curry (hot) sauce. Taking into consideration the appetizer platter, my husband asked for extra -spicy on his Garlic-Herb Salmon. We were told it wasn’t possible but were very graciously offered a complimentary side of extra sauce for dipping. The salmon was well marinated and cooked just right.
Garlic-Herb Tandoori Salmon
My son & I ordered a regular & a garlic naan with lamb-mushroom curry. The meat was succulent and well marinated. The sauce – while not spicy – was flavorful. The naan – both plain & garlic – was fluffy and cooked to perfection; no doughy insides or charred exterior. Just delicious!! Between the naan, rice & curry, we had more than enough for an adult and a pre-teen with a healthy appetite.
Lamb-Mushroom Curry & Garlic Naan
We would have liked to order a side of Hyderabadi dum biryani, but were told that since it wasn’t often requested (the cuisine is more Punjabi / North Indian), it wouldn’t be possible. I must stress again that the staff was very courteous in accommodating and addressing requests. We were told that the chef and owners had operated Charlottesville, VA’s Milan Indian Cuisine for many years before branching out to Northern Virginia.
Dessert was a tough choice between Mango Mousse cake and Malai Kulfi. We finally stuck with the familiar. The kulfi, while full of flavor was more icy than creamy. But the drizzle of mango sauce made for interesting presentation.
Malai Kulfi with Mango Sauce
With Indian restaurants in the area becoming dime-a-dozen, Pind definitely has some stiff competition, especially in terms of menu prices. But taking into consideration that it is one of the few finer places to dine when you want Indian food, has friendly wait staff, and includes a modern twist on many staples of Indian menus, it was definitely worth a visit. Ample parking is available just outside and the noise level was not over-whelming. It’s definitely on our list to revisit often.
For more information on PIND, check out http://www.pindindian.com/
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