Saturday, July 19, 2014

Naan & Beyond Express Food Review

You can't argue with its location, a mere block away from the White House (and yes, the President walked by once.) Naan & Beyond Express is Indian food at its best worst most average. That's not meant as an insult per se; but rather a subtle reminder that hot, fresh food tastes a lot better than what's served at 6:00 in the evening. Guess what time I stopped by?

If you said 6:00, you win a gold star. Sadly, Naan & Beyond wins nothing for a relatively subpar meal that probably would have tasted amazing five or six hours earlier in the day. Is that my fault for arriving so late? I don't think so: They're open until 9:00 PM Monday - Friday (until 8:00 PM on Saturdays) and should be better prepared. I came in, and ordered a Chicken Tikka Naan Sandwich for $7.25 with a Veggie Samosa ($1.50.) Service was quick and painless, but void of small talk. I took a seat inside (two other customers were wrapping up their meals outside on the patio.)

Chicken Tikka Naan Sandwich

The interior is rather bland, but relatively clean. They have four different chutneys (Hot, Mango, Mint and Tamarind) available in syrup dispensers by the napkins. Make sure to take advantage of the clear travel containers (located next to the knives and straws) for serving. I missed them entirely, and wound up pouring chutney into a paper bag (yuck.) Said chutneys are terrific for dipping... transforming otherwise listless sandwiches into something a whole lot spicier. All sandwiches come loaded with cabbage, tomatoes and mayo, tucked inside a thick, doughy piece of naan bread.

My sandwich featured thick chunks of surprisingly flavorless chicken... chunks so thick in fact, that half of my bites had nothing but bread and cabbage (double yuck.) It wasn't awful (especially with Hot Chutney) but the sandwich started to fall apart after only one bite; and I all I could think about was leaving. I wound up eating only half of the sandwich.

Veggie Samosa

I certainly wasn't full from the Veggie Samosa ($1.50) which had a zesty filling, but little else. For starters, it was very, very oily, and tasted like it was made hours before. It also had lots of leftover crust (like a bad slice of pizza) and was borderline cold. If this were my restaurant, I'd be ashamed to serve it.

There's little to no chance I'd ever return: There are plenty of better Indian options in town (Rasika obviously, and Merzi for a fast casual alternative) and I'm not as forgiving as I used to be. I'm sure it's better for lunch; but "coulda, shoulda, woulda" just doesn't cut it anymore. Moving on...