With a generous collection of curries, kabobs and flatbreads, Delhi Club goes straight to the heart of Indian cuisine. It’s an experience that takes patrons beyond just eating: spiced aromas fill the restaurant, Indian music plays in the background and the food is, of course, well-seasoned and delicious.
The restaurant occupies a cozy space amidst Arlington’s hustle and bustle, sitting conveniently across from the Clarendon metro stop. Enjoy a summer meal outdoors, along North Highland Street, or dine inside for a more intimate setting, where the lights are low and the service is attentive. Tables are covered in dark green cloths while rich reds and oranges cover the walls in both paint and draperies. Delhi Club is true to its heritage, with several Indian decorations and a menu promising spice and — just about — everything nice.
The Bhel Puri ($3.75) is a good way to kick off the meal. And in terms of “kick,” this appetizer has its fair share. It’s a feisty and flavorful blend of puffed rice, crunchy Indian noodle, onion, diced boiled potato and cilantro, dressed with spicy tamarind chutney. Try also the Samosas ($3), turnovers filled with potatoes and peas and sprinkled with mango powder, for an appetizer of the less spicy variety, or the Seekh Kabob ($6.50), lamb kabobs flavored with a hint of root ginger, garlic, chilies and various herbs and spices. All colorfully garnished, the appetizers are well-priced, averaging around $4 or $5.
Navigating menus in which you don’t know the language can be tricky, but even before knowing a tandoor is an Indian and Pakistani-style clay oven (says know-it-all Wikipedia.com), it’s easy to enjoy the Tandoori Shrimp ($15.50) as a main entrée. The shrimp, jumbo-sized, are marinated with garlic, lemon juice and carom seeds, and served over a heap of lettuce. The combination is juicy and not too heavy. For a dish more akin to comfort food — something rich and warm — order the Delhi Pista Korma ($13.50), which comes in a boat-shaped dish. The creamy chicken curry features chunks of white meat in a sauce infused with both ground pistachio and coconut. Interestingly enough, the chicken meat is spicy while the sauce isn’t. Over basmati rice (a long-grained rice), the curry warms the heart and stomach.
Two waiter recommendations — both earthy and satisfying — include the Butter Chicken ($12.50), a Tandoori chicken breast, which has been simmered in a tomato sauce and seasoned with cardamom, cloves, ginger, garlic and dried fenugreek leaves, and the Lamb Rogan Josh ($13.50), which is lamb cooked with onions and tomatoes.
One of Delhi Club’s specialties is its naan, a type of round flatbread that resembles pita bread but is softer. Naan is served in a variety of ways: with mint, Indian cottage cheese, chopped garlic and butter or ground lamb. The Onion Kulcha ($2.75), which accompanied the Delhi Pista Korma, comes fresh out of the tandoor, inlaid with slices of onion.
There aren’t many choices for dessert, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get your sweet fix. Less is more with the restaurant’s Kheer ($2), a cardamom-infused rice pudding, which is elegant in a glass cup, delicate and creamy to the taste. Another option is the Galub Jamun ($2), a homemade cottage cheese dumpling.
This restaurant celebrates the herbs and spices that have made Indian cuisine famous, the almost invisible ingredients that give each dish its own flavor and name. There’s no better place than Delhi Club to enjoy good company and good Indian food, which, fortunately at the Arlington restaurant, is both easily said and done.
1135 N. Highland St.
Arlington, Va. 22201
Mon. – Fri.: 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Sat.: 11:30 a.m. – Midnight
Sun.: 5 p.m. – Midnight