Thanks to all for the rec's for Bethesda.
Although we thought the name is a better title for a 1924 book than a restaurant, we went to A Passage to India. My friend felt like Indian, and the VA Haandi isn't my favorite Indian restaurant, so I preferred to try someplace new. For reference, we've both been to India.
I would go back here when in the neighborhood.
After several long discussions with the waitress, we finally ordered. I liked the fact that I saw a number of different things on the menu. Unfortunately, I only recall what one thing was called, so I'll have to describe everything. We thought everything we tried was quite good.
To try a tandoori dish, we ordered chicken tikka appetizer. This was different from some other places. The chicken was still juicy and the zingy marinade was still evident on the outside. I would get this again.
We had a vegetarian appetizer that consisted of something that looked like puffed rice and something that resempled sliced fried noodles. These two things and something else were heaped in a papadum shaped like a tortilla on the outside of a taco salad. The whole thing was drizzled with yoghurt with mint. This was really good, but did deteriorate when the crispy parts became soggy.
For entrees, we had shrimp in a tamarind sauce and a potato and cauliflower curry, both of which were very good.
To accompany, we had whole what bread with mint on top and a pickle platter that had samples of lemon pickle and two other pickles, one of which had carrots, I think. They ranged in spiciness from fairly mild to very spicy. I would order both of these again.
I liked that they offered several sample platters, even though we finally decided we wanted to select our own dishes. I also liked that the menu had dishes separated by region, with meat and vegetarian dishes mixed in each list.