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Jan 19, 2010 11:59 AM

Arlington -- Minerva Express Opening!

I stopped by A-1 Indian grocery today and found it renovated, with an attached restaurant "next door" -- Minerva Express. (Location is across from McDonald's near Glebe and Lee Hwy, N. Arlington).

They are opening tomorrow, January 20, 2010. I guess it was a trial run, but today they offered me some basmati rice to try -- and told me to stop back by in a couple of hours to sample some vegetarian biryani and eggplant curry. The rice was nice and flavorful (found a clove and green cardamom pod), and they use soybean oil, which gave it a nice flavor and texture (although he knew it needed to be cooked a wee bit more -- but I had heard him urging the cook to get me something to I suspect it was still finishing up).

They have tables and chairs for 16 diners.

They plan to have all kinds of kabobs, biryanis, and curries. They wil not really be doing "sweets" right away, the man said.

They were friendly. I wish them well, and if their food is good, they'll thrive. The only issue is parking, which is a bit of a pain, especially getting into their lot if you're traveling east on Lee Hwy.

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  1. thats awesome is it related to minerva in herndon?

    2 Replies
    1. re: kneelconqueso

      That is very interesting! I love Minerva Fairfax, and work nearby so I will definitely give it a try. And the parking is abysmal. With just a Subway, and the A1 grocery, it is bad. With a Minerva, I may have to walk to lunch! But it will be worth it.

      1. Please PLEASE tell me it's not in that broken-down strip mall with a minuscule parking strip (even more broken-down and too narrow to maneuver a regular-size vehicle in) ... please?

        1 Reply
        1. re: wayne keyser

          wayne, sorry, my friend! that *is* the spot. we can park on the street nearby, though.

          but... let's hope it is *worth* the worry. updates to follow.

        2. There was an Indian restaurant in that space several years ago. It didn't last too long but it was quite good; IIRC, the owner said they were closing because they had a dispute with the landlord. Parking is difficult there, and if you park in the spaces designated for Subway, you'll get towed.

          1. They were wrestling in a new freezer, so I grabbed a temporary menu for tomorrow. Lets see if the scanner is working so I can post the menu...

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ziv

              thanks, ziv.

              i wonder where are the kabobs?

              prices make raaga's lunch buffet seem a super bargain. (saturday is now our favorite day...with chick biryani and lamb curry in addition to the other regular dishes).

              1. re: alkapal

                Minerva Express is starting to get their feet under them and they are preparing pretty good meals. I tried the navratan kurma, which is basically a slow cooked veggie curried stew with rice and they threw in some naan that was fresh and hot. The stew was pretty rich, with a subtle bit of heat to it. I bought some achar and parathas at the grocery store, so it was more like three meals rather than one for the price. I didn't see the kabobs, but they are just moving in. I am looking forward to trying the lamb or goat next week. They also had a tray of chapattis and fried goods by the cash register that looked pretty good. Parking is fairly tight, but if you go before 4 you may be able to use the parking lot on the Dominos Pizza side. Definitely ask when you get there if you are good to go though.

            2. GREAT DIVE!!
              Went last night & food was GREAT! A couple of items:

              Parking - you CAN park on Subway side - its a shared lot (don't know about Domino's side) I have parked before on the side street just past the shops.

              Food & Service - It was slow, but worth the wait. The Palak Paneer was made w. fresh chopped spinach. Channa Masala, Rice & Naan were likewise delicious. Will definately be going there a lot if they keep up the quality. Worried that they need to work on the delivery and atmosphere to make a go of it. Don't expect a bright shining new place - it reminds me of a place I used to go to when I worked in Delhi for a month...

              Market - I have frequented the market for years and am usually the only caucasian. The spices have usually seemed good. One word - if you get a mix, grain, or bean, put it in a glass jar or ziplock. We think we've gotten tiny bugs in something from there once.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Jack Laguna

                How does it compare to Saran, just down the street?

                I recently went there for the first was pretty good. Good chole puri, good pumpkin curry. Mostly Indian clientele.

                1. re: CoconutMilk

                  Isn't Saran vegetarian? It's been so long since I've been there....