Capitol Cuisine: Hello, Summer!

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At the Eastern Market’s weekend farmers row, Yalla Koshary serves a vegan dish made with lentils, rice and pasta.

Hello summer! As we swim into warm weather and sunshine, our restaurant scene is heating up ‒ literally. Jab We Met Indian Kitchen has opened at 515 Eighth St. SE, where El Bodegon used to be. It’s a pretty place, decoated with royal blue banquettes and chairs and pale gold walls. No stranger to our restaurant scene, proprietor Parminder Singh Manan also operates Naanwise Indian Cuisine in Woodley Park and Oh! Naan in Logan Circle. 

At Jab We Met, veggie samosas are stuffed with potatoes, peas and spices, plus dipping sauces.

A week or so after it opened, Peter and I dined there on a drizzly Friday evening. Seated at a spacious table, we began with an order of veggie samosas. The feather-light pastries were filled with spicy potatoes and peas, delivering just enough firepower. Peter then ordered an appetizer of honey garlic shrimp. Served cold, the shrimp were perfectly timed, and the sweet and hot spices balanced each other nicely. For an entree I went for a favorite: lamb rogan josh. (As I requested, the kitchen toned down the firepower in the peppers, ginger and garlic paste.) Unfortunately, some of the lamb chunks seemed tough. We also ordered papadam, the crispy Indian bread, along with chutney and green sauce.

Also emerging from Jab We Met’s kitchen: palak chat (crispy spinach, chutney, yogurt), coconut curry, fiery vindaloo dishes, tandoori kebabs and other classics. Full bar and happy hour. Visit www.jabwemetindiankitchen.com.

Joining the Hill’s pizza family is
Indian-operated Mad Over Pizzas, next
to Frager’s Hardware.

More Pizza… and Indian
The Capitol Hill pizza wars continue. Earlier this spring, Mad Over Pizzas opened at 1123 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, next to Frager’s Hardware. We soon learned that Mad Over Pizza dispenses more than pizza, lots more. Moreover, its pies and other items span international boundaries ‒ management hails from India. “Athens via Santorini” is topped with gyros meat, feta, spinach, tomatoes and tzatziki. Delicious, with a springy, chewy crust. The subcontinent is represented by butter chicken pizzas, tandoori, kabob meri jaan (skewered chicken). Pies come in medium, large and extra-large, priced from around $18 to $25. 

Besides pizza, this newcomer also serves myriad tasty appetizers; we loved the crispy samosas accompanied by spicy green sauce. Other starters encompass garlic bread, mozzarella sticks, jalapeno peppers. Among other choices are wings, pastas, calzones, salads and subs.

On Barracks Row, Bombay Street Food dispenses zesty dishes including Palak chat, spinach topped with yogurt.

A few days later, we returned to Mad to try a sub. We wanted an Italian sub (ham, salami, provolone), but the kitchen temporarily lacked the ingredients, so we settled for a $12.99 12-inch Bombay chicken club. Nestled in a warm sub roll were spicy chicken tikka cubes, chutney, cucumbers, green peppers and cheese. The only missteps: vapid, out-of-season tomato wedges.

Open daily, Mad Over Pizzas is a modest spartan nook with a TV and a few tables for dining in. For more information or to order takeout visit www.madoverpizzas.com.

More Indian
Speaking of Indian cuisine, Peter and I decided to revisit a Barracks Row favorite, Bombay Street Food, 524 Eighth St. SE. Joined by three friends, we settled into the sidewalk cafe. First we shared a generous appetizer: palak chat, the slightly sweet, crispy spinach dish topped with yogurt. Then I chose my menu favorite, Bombay biryani, the spicy, basmati rice concoction laced with big chunks of lamb. (Other biryani protein options include goat, chicken or shrimp.) This signature dish is draped with bread, which our server ceremoniously removed. From the Indo-Chinese listing, gogi Manchurian is a sinus-clearing montage of ginger/garlic paste and soy sauce served over cauliflower florets. There are several vegetarian and vegan dishes. We also shared a basket of assorted Indian breads.

Potent potables include cocktails, wine and beer. From the non-alcoholic listing, Peter sipped mango lassi. Lunch for two came to $52 including my glass of pleasant pinot grigio. For hours and more information visit www.bombaystreetfooddc.com.

On Barracks Row, Jab We Met Indian Kitchen has opened across the street from Bombay Street Food.

Sushi in the Sky
Now you can enjoy sushi with a disco scene and panoramic vista. Perched atop the Citizen M Hotel near L’Enfant Plaza is the brand-new Sushi by Bou, 550 School St. SW. Part of an upscale chain, the fishy newcomer offers omakase courses (chef-created menus) along with a spectacular view. Expect creative concoctions involving hamachi (yellowtail), unagi (eel), akami (tuna), ikura (salmon roe), sake (salmon) and more. Plus signature cocktails involving such ingredients as Japanese gin, sake, yuzu, an Asian citrus fruit and honey. The convivial bar also pours more conventional highballs, wine and beer. For hours and more information visit www.sushibybou.com.

Market Watch
How often do you encounter Egyptian cuisine on the Hill? On a recent Saturday, husband Peter stumbled upon an exotic new vendor near the outdoor Farmers Row: Yalla Koshary. Named for a traditional street food, the stand is operated by Egyptian-born Mostafa Wafa. Curious, Peter checked it out. Having visited Egypt long ago, we’ve always been fascinated by the culture and cuisine of that North African nation. So, Peter purchased the koshary, a vegan, layered mixture of lentils, pasta, rice and spices, topped with fried onions and zesty tomato sauce. The $7 dish was accompanied by garlic vinegar and an incendiary tomato and hot pepper concoction.     

Versions of koshary date back 4,000 years, when Egyptian priests would consume a concoction of wheat, lentils, chickpeas, rice, garlic and onions. Centuries later, Peruvian tomatoes and Italian pasta joined the ancient mix.

You’ll find Yalla at Eastern Market most Saturdays and Sundays. For more information visit www.yallakoshary.us.

Gone
Harvest Tide Steak and Seafood, at 212 Seventh St. SE, is “permanently closed.” Sister restaurant Coastline Oyster Company, 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, is “temporarily closed.” And on Barracks Row, As you Are, the LGBTQ+ friendly restaurant/bar at 500 Eighth St. SE, is “temporarily closed” due to a water issue, we’re told.