The 5 favorite addresses of our current food critic: Afghan, Indian, Italian

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The 5 favorite addresses of our current food critic: Afghan, Indian, Italian


One of my favorite ways to eat Indian food is on a thali, a round metal tray filled with small bowls containing a variety of dishes – basically, a buffet served at the table. And one of the best places to experience it is Jodhpur in Herndon, which only offers a bottomless thali every day of the week except Tuesday, when it is closed.

During a visit on a Sunday, I discovered eggplant puree sprinkled with mustard seeds, chopped okra in a spicy tomato sauce, creamy paneer, a hearty chickpea curry, spicy spinach skewers and lacy onion fritters arranged in a circle with (unbuckle your seatbelts, friends!) cumin. -fragrant rice, papadum cracker shards, cucumber salad, bright mint chutney, mouth-watering pickles and desserts including syrup-soaked donut holes. Did I miss something? The thali called Purani Dilli (Hindi for “Old Delhi”), also offered on Thursday, requires a lot to absorb. Don’t rely on leftovers. There isn’t any, at least to take out and take home. While you are in Jodhpur, you are free to ask for more of anything. In fact, the servers are one step ahead of you. “More bread?” they ask, offering hot whole-wheat roti and puffy bedmi puri – plus extras of anything else. The feast is changed throughout the week to encourage guests to return.

The interior is as memorable as the cuisine. Diners enter a lobby whose pink neon sign tells them “This must be the place” and whose display cases tempt them with colorful Indian treats before they’ve taken their first bite of lunch or dinner. Chandeliers and flowers adorn the ceiling; Shiny gold chairs and blue walls add a royal touch to the expansive dining room. (Jodhpur, in northwest India, is known as the Blue City.)

There is no alcohol or meat. But a mango lassi, succulent veggies and bread that doesn’t stop until you do are plenty. The same goes for the Jodhpur location, five miles from Dulles International Airport. Think of it as a possible trip before a trip.

1114 Herndon Drive, Herndon. 571-382-0909. jodhpurusa.com. Open for indoor dining. Thali of the day, $22.99 to $24.99.

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