Curried Favor

Jewel of India adds spice in Silver Spring

Opening the marigold-lined doors of Jewel of India unleashes a surge of aromas, including those of slow-cooked curries, garlicky naan and tandoori-roasted meats.

Indeed, the new Silver Spring restaurant excels at nuanced versions of classic dishes.

Bhel puri ($7) is a balanced blend of cayenne, sweet tamarind chutney, puffed rice and crisp crackers. Lamb vindaloo ($16), which we often find to be overhyped and underspiced, singes with its vinegar-infused chile sauce.

The restaurant also excels with less common dishes. For a departure from the familiar, sample the Indo-Chinese options. Chili paneer ($13) wok-fries the dense Indian cheese in a spicy soy-chile sauce. Unlike the sauce-heavy curries that dominate most Indian restaurants in this country, this dish–and its chicken equivalent ($15)–is served dry. Fried rounds of minced chicken Manchurian ($15), in a thick sauce of onions, ginger and garlic, could stand up to the best General Tso's or kung pao preparation.

Indeed, we would consider turning to Jewel of India for our next order of Chinese takeout. Case in point: Fried rice with vegetables ($12) uses soft, fragrant jasmine grains instead of the pebbly standard.

Jewel of India, 10151 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring; 301-408-2200 or jewelofindiamd.com