Thursday, June 17, 2010

Is this Nirvana? (Restaurant)

wait area near entrance of Nirvana restaurant in DCThe wait area at Nirvana, near the entrance.

Not sure if Nirvana Vegetarian Restaurant qualifies as nirvana, but it's a nice spot for lunch. It's practically mandatory to visit an Indian buffet, just to see what's available, and because it's a pretty inexpensive way to get tasty, nutritious food, as much as you can handle--it also makes it easy to eat enough that you don't have to worry about dinner. (Or at least I tried to eat that much. Says a lot about me, I know.)

The decor is warm and inviting, in the waiting area and in the restaurant itself. In addition to tables, there's also a bar, a nice option for singles. However, the buffet is the main event, so I got a table nearby, close to the action. I should first say that though the place was close to full (this was between 12:30 and 1 pm), it wasn't packed, so the tone of the place was civil. (I'm surprised there wasn't a tv at the bar with World Cup coverage, so perhaps that helped keep the vibe calm.) The attentive service, from the wait staff to the owner, helps keep the ambience friendly, as well.
buffet table at Nirvana restaurant in DC
In the midst of this Old World atmosphere is the $11.95 buffet, which was vegan except for a lentil-yogurt dish at one end. (It didn't look as appetizing as the other dishes, so I stayed away). As it is a Thursday, today's buffet featured savories. I think the rice was a biryani, but I also had the chole, a chickpea dish infused with flavorful coriander, so I went for seconds. Also making an appearance was one of my favorite breads, the puffy puri. There were also potato patties, a bit too soft for my liking, as well as a nice bagda, another bean dish, slightly spicy. There was a different potato dish, an aloo, with many peas and other vegetables. There was also a dish made with chickpeas and papadi, which had an odd (but not bad) texture and good flavor, just took getting used to. The spiciness snuck up on me, but a nice glass of the $1.00 (during lunch) iced tea helped tame it. (Not that the spiciness really bothered me, as I like it spicy.) My plate was full, and refilled...
full lunch plate from the vegetarian buffet at NirvanaIf you're in the 18th and K area, and need a place to go for lunch, keep Nirvana in mind, as the buffet menu differs depending on the day of the week--Monday is North Indian food, Tuesday, the food represents the Gujrati region, Wednesday, it's South Indian, Thursday it's savories (whatever that means), and Friday is food of the Rajasthani region. Which means you'll probably never be bored no matter which day you decide to go. (Oh, Nirvana also serves dinner, so I may have to try it sometime.)

1 comment:

Aaditya Shah said...

Sorry to bring this to your attention, but we officially closed doors on the 25th of June. I'm glad you had an enjoyable time at our restaurant. We have opened a fast food restaurant just below our old location, in the food court of the Farragut West Metro station. Come by and check us out!