Many thanks to Matt and Tamiko for suggesting the Annapurna Cafe during my “Oh, woe is me, where are all the good Indian restaurants on Capitol hill?“ phase. I had walked by the Annapurna Cafe before and had been curious because they advertise Nepali, Tibetan & Indian cuisine.
The Annapurna Cafe is a basement restaurant, so there is no natural light, but all in all it’s fairly cozy for being in a basement. Per Tamiko’s suggestion we started out with the Goan Style Mussels, “Fresh mussels sautÃ©ed in a white wine based coconut curry sauce with roasted garlic, fresh herbs and tomatoes served with naan” ($11.95). They were FANTASTIC; the mussels were plump and juicy and the broth was incredible. It was sweet yet spicy, and rich from the coconut milk but not overly-so. The naan that came with the mussels was crisp and dry, which at first I didn’t think I’d like, but it had such a nice texture and crunch that I enjoyed it—especially when dipped in the curry broth. There was a good three inches of broth in the bowl and we managed to eat it all. It was so good that once we ran out of naan I just started drinking it straight, like soup.
We also ordered the Crispy Lamb Rolls, “Crispy lamb rolls stuffed with ground lamb, onions, cabbage, carrots, yam noodles, garlic, ginger, basil and freshly ground masala and served with mango pineapple chutney” ($4.95). The rolls were an awful lot like a Taco Time crispy burrito. I’m not sure why my brain made this connection, and I’m not even saying that it’s a bad thing either. The rolls were a bit greasy and chewy on the outside and just a touch dry on the inside, but I liked the taste of the ground lamb mixture. I think if the frying oil had been slightly hotter, the rolls would have been perfect. The accompanying pineapple and mango chutney tasted like a slightly spicy sweet and sour sauce and was a perfect complement to the lamb.
The last thing we tried was the Himalayan Curry, “Sherpa’s favorite curry sauce cooked with Szechwan pepper, tomatoes, onions, sweet peas, potatoes and Tibetan herbs” ($8.95, with chicken). The waitress had told us that it was fairly tangy and tried to steer us towards the sweeter curries, but Zach was really curious about the Sherpa’s favorite. I didn’t like this curry very much, but not because it wasn’t prepared well—I just found the tangy flavor odd and not satisfying, but Zach enjoyed it. Next time I want to try some of the more Indian inspired curries because I’m betting they’re fantastic.
Thank you Matt and Tamiko! Your recommendations were right on.