Princess Indian Cuisine - Goan - 1st visit
This is the former Pavani on 59 at the Beltway. In all my decades of living on the SW side I never got around to going to Pavani - it used to get very bad reviews for service - but I think there’s been a change of ownership and a new menu adding some Goan specialties. Goa was a Portuguese overseas territory for 4+ centuries and the food is influenced by Portuguese cooking.
It’s a very nice facility, originally a Steak and Ale many years ago, with a lunch buffet 7 days a week. I went to sample their different dishes on the buffet for an introduction. I started with the Sweet Corn Chicken soup - I’ve seen this elsewhere but never tried it so have nothing to compare it to. It was only very delicately flavored and not at all sweet. There was chicken broth but no meat. I’d probably go for the sambar next time which looked pretty good. There were two vadas, masala vada and mehdu. The latter, also known as a lentil donut, is one of my favorite vadas so I went with that. I also had an onion pakora. Both were fried a light golden brown and were very good. The onion pakora was more like an onion puff than what I’ve had as a pakora before and both of these could be quite addictive. I also tried the Goan Fish Curry which was made with tilapia. It wasn’t as spicy or complex a curry as the one I had at Heritage but was okay. Mushroom Manchurian was one of the vegetable dishes and it was very good as was the mutter pulao; I’d describe the mushroom dish as a dry curry. Saag paneer, however, was just so-so; the naan probably would have been good had it been fresh instead of sitting out of a buffet for a while. On a second pass thru the buffet I sampled the goat curry, lamb kabob (I think that’s what it was called) and Chicken Tikka Masala. The latter standard was, like the saag paneer, nothing special, but the goat curry proved to be the spiciest dish and I liked it best of all; the lamb was not far behind. I was disappointed that neither of their vindaloos were on the buffet.
Besides the dishes I tried there was a dal and a vegetable korma, chicken biryani and tandoori chicken that I remember so there was plenty to choose from.
On the condiments table you had a choice of 4 different chutneys - coconut, which was very good, plus what I assume were date/tamaraind and coriander plus one other I didn’t identify. There were also the makings of a tossed salad, fruit, including watermelon, and sliced onions, carrots and cucumbers and kheer, which was very good.
There was a noticeable lack of diners who looked like they were from the subcontinent but I don’t know if that reflects on the authenticity of the dishes or just the location being out of the way or just the luck of the draw. I wasn’t as impressed with the food on my first visit as I was at Heritage recently but first impressions are sometimes misleading and it was just the buffet. I definitely want to visit again; among the dishes on the menu I’d like to try at the Goan Prawn Curry and the Vindaloos. They also offer several varieties of naan. I didn’t think to ask about spice levels, i.e., if they’d kick things up a notch if you were ordering a la carte instead of just taking pot luck on the buffet.
The weekday lunch buffet is $9.95 and the weekend buffet is $12.95 All in all it was a very pleasant if not particularly gustatorily stimulating visit. Of all the Indian or Pakistani restaurants on the far SW side this is the nicest facility I’ve been to.