Falls Church newcomer Saathi Indian Restaurant is serving up curries, tandoori-cooked treats, biryani, and more in the Seven Corners area.
The restaurant has set up shop in a space once home to Kabob Express in the shopping plaza between Wilson Boulevard and Route 50 that’s also home to Gold’s Gym.
The restaurant serves a lunch buffet for $8.95, and its dinner menu offers an expansive sampling of Indian cuisine. Gratis papadum, wafer-thin crispy flatbread, is presented to the table upon the diner’s arrival with spicy mint and sweet tamarind sauces occupying yin-and-yang spaces in a divided bowl. One might start the Indian feast promptly with drinks by ordering a small glass of the sweet mango lassi yogurt drink or a bottomless cup of masala tea, a warm black tea lightly spiced with cardamom (both $1.95).
Among the appetizers are several pakora dishes, fritters made in a spicy chickpea flour breading. Assorted vegetables, and even squares of paneer cheese, are plunged into that batter and deep-fried as a snack to be enjoyed before the main course. The Assorted Veggie Pakoras ($6.95) offers a sampling of the fried eats. The beloved Indian pastry Samosa ($3.45 for two) is made admirably here, its filling a hearty mash of potatoes and peas with cumin seeds and other spices adding heat and flavor. The turnovers are amply filled, with a thin and crackling fried shell.
Assorted kabobs cooked in the restaurant’s tandoori oven are offered as appetizers and as entrées. Paneer, tofu, salmon, lamb, and chicken all get the tandoori treatment here. An order of the Reshmi Kebabs ($11.95) serves big hunks of chicken breast. The massive pieces of meat take an overnight dip in yogurt and a blend of spices before they meet the tandoori oven. The result is a divinely juicy piece of chicken that’s only barely char-blackened.
Most entrées come with an ample helping of basmati rice and a vegetable side dish, which varies. A recent visit yielded chickpeas in a savory gravy and a spiced blend of chopped potatoes and broccoli. While those sides are provided for free, bread is also a good addition – naan in a few variations and other Indian breads can be ordered to accompany the meal, and they’re ideal for scooping up the restaurant’s curries.
One curry at the top of the menu’s Chicken Specialties selection is the Chicken Makhani ($12.95), which the menu likens to chicken tikka masala or butter chicken. Here, tender pieces of charbroiled chicken are immersed in a rich gravy. Its tomato sweetness conveys with creaminess, and both components delight in this mild dish.
For a spicier and less creamy curry, the Fish Curry ($15.95) doesn’t disappoint. The flavor and texture of salmon is the highlight of this dish, the fish accented by a light sauce made with mustard seed, and whole curry leaves which are visible in the mix. Mixed-rice dishes such as biryani, a few lamb curries, and a good selection of vegetable curries round out the entrée offerings.
With a broad menu that represents the favorite dishes of Indian cuisine and some less well-known delicacies – and the added convenience of delivery and take-away dining – Saathi Indian Restaurant is a welcome new addition to the Seven Corners area.
Saathi Indian Restaurant is located at 6280 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church. For more information, call 703-241-8925 or visit saathirestaurant.com. Restaurant hour are Monday – Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; Friday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.; and Sunday: Noon – 10 p.m.