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Washington DC & Baltimore Lunch

Report: Lunch at Akshaya in Sterling

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Report: Lunch at Akshaya in Sterling

luckyfatima | May 29, 2013 06:37 PM

This restaurant is owned by people from Andhra Pradesh, and their two main chefs are from Andhra and Tamil Nadu. They have a diverse menu including a few typical Indian-American Mughlai/Punjabi staples, Indian style Chinese offerings, and an expansive selection of South Indian dishes, from curries to dosas to kothu parotta.

We decided to focus on South Indian specialties and a few Indian-Chinese dishes for our lunch.

For appetizers, we got chicken 65 (sort of like a chicken pakora tossed in seasonings, mirchi bhaji (long green chile pakoras), and calamari porichathu (squid ring pakoras). If these items had been bad, it would be like some batter dipped Indian Long John Silver's basket from hell. But all of these items were excellent, and each one tasted distinct despite all being batter fried. I would recommend any one of these again.

From the Indian-Chinese menu, we got Mumbai Chili in the paneer option (other choice was chicken), which is the classic dish, Chili paneer. This dish was perfectly seasoned, very flavorful, and the paneer was very tender. It was very enjoyable.

We also ordered lamb fried rice. The lamb was tender, and it was basmati rice instead of any of the types of rice one might find in a Chinese restaurant, but aside from that, despite being well made, nothing about this rice stood out to me as being different than a typical American Chinese style fried rice. I was very pleased with the tender lamb, though, as lamb in restaurants can sometimes be too gamey of tough.

In addition, we selected two South Indian curries: Chettinaad chicken, and gongura chicken.

The chettinaad chicken had a deliciously spicy gravy.

The gongura chicken impressed me the least, perhaps since it wasn't so brightly seasoned, and the sourness of the gongura greens wasn't appealing to me. Gongura is a leaf vegetable known as Indian sorrel, and is characteristic of Andhra cuisine.

Lastly, we ordered a plate of egg kottu parotha, which is a classic South Indian street food of chopped up white flour griddle fried flat bread which is cooked with vegetables and the protein of your choice (Akshaya offers veg, chicken, egg, and shrimp kottu parotha.) This was really great, and even though everyone was stuffed as could be, we were all still helping ourselves to a little bit more.

This is a really great restaurant to try some unique regional South Indian food and well made Indian style Chinese food. (The Indian Chinese here beats Masala Wok by a long shot.)

I actually made a take away order of mirchi ka saalan (long green chiles cooked in peanut-coconut-sesame-tamarind sauce) and Hyderbadi biryani, two other classic Andhra specialties from the city of Hyderabad. Both were excellent, and I would highly recommend these, too.

I would recommend this restaurant and definitely will be back there again. There are quite a few other interesting looking things on the menu that I would like to try, like some specifically South Indian style biryanis, and more of the South Indian curries. (They seem to have a good mix of Andhra and Tamilian classic dishes.)

They also offer dosa, idli, uttappam, and vadas, so I will keep them in mind for those items, too.

They have a lunch buffet but also allow you to order off of the menu at lunch time, just FYI. Diners are spoiled for choice here, and although we didn't try any of the Mughlai type items, every other genre we hit proved to be quite good.

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