We spent the week of Thanksgiving visiting family in Virginia. It went by too fast, but we squeezed in a lot of fun and food into a quick visit. On Wednesday, we took the train into DC for a foodie adventure, just like the old days. There were so many places we wanted to try, but after careful consideration we narrowed it down to two restaurants. Up first, lunch at Pappe a relative newcomer to DC’s already robust Indian food scene.
Pappe is located in an intimate and elegant space in the Logan Circle area serving authentic, traditional Indian food made from scratch. The brain child of three close friends, the name Pappe is inspired by the Punjabi word “brother” – their term of endearment for one another. And that sense of friends-turned-family is very much alive in the comforting food and friendly service we received during our meal.
Pappe also has an awesome bar program featuring a large selection of Indian whiskeys and even Indian wine. Tom ordered the New Dehli made with blended whiskey, cocchi toro and demerara. I had my eye on the Masala Sour cocktail with vodka and masala chai. However, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try my first Indian wine, the Sula Sauvignon Blanc from India’s Nashik Valley. I loved this wine! It had a beautiful level of acidity and finished with notes of green pepper and fresh herbs. It was a great pairing with our food, and something I would definitely drink again
We had big plans for dinner later that evening, so we tried to keep this lunch on the lighter(ish) side. We started with two small plates, the aloo papdi chaat (thin pastry, chickpeas, cumin yogurt and tamarind chutney) and the tandoori gobi (cauliflower, black pepper and ginger garlic).
I’ve rarely met a chaat I didn’t like, but I do have to say that this one was top notch. It had contrasting textures and flavors that hit all the right notes. The crispy pastry, crunchy onions and creamy yogurt were enhanced by the smoke of the cumin and sweet of the tamarind.
The tandoori gobi was nice as well. The cauliflower, cooked in the traditional tandoor, was tender on the inside with a slight crunch. The ginger garlic sauce provided a nice level of heat.
For the main event, we opted not to order individual entrees and instead shared the Maharaja thali platter. Thali platters are delicious trays with samples of different dishes, rice and naan. These platters are only available at lunch, and are a great way to taste a lot of the menu without overstuffing yourself or spending too much money. Our platter featured:
- Butter chicken
- Lamb curry
- Palak paneer
- Daal makhani
- Cucumber raita
- Basmati Rice
That’s a lot of food! We absolutely loved the daal makhani and the lamb curry but everything was delicious and it was fun to try different combinations in each bite.
The available curries rotate daily based on what the chef has prepared. Diners get a choice of two different types of daal and regular or naan bread. You could literally eat this every day for lunch and never get the exact same meal twice.
We had such a great time kicking off our day in DC with lunch at Pappe. The district has a lot of great Indian restaurants to chose from (Rasika will always hold a very special place in my heart and stomach) but Pappe differentiates itself by sticking to the basics and doing them really well.