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Tom Sietsema

Any neighborhood would be glad to claim this Indian newcomer, but restaurant-reduced Tenleytown gets the honor. Making the smart, pistachio-colored destination even more endearing are the skill sets of owner and host Atul Bhola and chef Surinder Kumar, former associates at Heritage India in Glover Park. A cheat sheet for their venture includes Kumar’s terrific griddled potato cakes, brassy with ginger and jalapeno, and lashed with sweet yogurt and tamarind sauces; tandoor-cooked cauliflower spiked with mustard seeds and mustard oil; chicken in a velvety tomato cream sauce; cottage cheese dumplings with cores of dried fruit; jalapeno-pumped minced lamb kebab … actually, it’s easier to tick off what’s not so hot than to basically recite the whole menu. (Baby lamb on roti is tough.) Any fire calls for a beer chaser, but wine comes in second, given the half-price bottles Sunday through Thursday nights. Noise remains a problem here. So does my lack of restraint.

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