Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Commonwealth Indian - North Bethesda Gets a Winner

Commonwealth Indian
11610 Old Georgetown Rd, Rockville, MD 20852
Sunil Bastola already owns and operates Bollywood Bistro (X2) in Northern Virginia. Apparently he's taken what he learned in NoVa, added some area-specific tastes after spending some time in Rockville-AKA North Bethesda, and provided and exceptional dining experience named Commonwealth Indian.

 The restaurant, situated right next to the soon-to-open Fogo de Chao, is gorgeous. Sunil spent a lot of time on this build-out, considering colors, textures, and art work. It doesn't disappoint for looks or comfort.
 I really appreciated the fact that they offered some non-alcoholic cocktails. They were excellent NA versions of some of the drinks they had on their cocktail menu, though they weren't listed on the menu as being available sans booze. If you're into this kind of thing be sure to ask.
 We started out with Garlic Naan. Two pieces of tender cloud topped with garlic, olive oil and cilantro. Just enough of everything in the right proportions, prepared with years of practice. Do not skip this.
 Next on our order was the Kavak aur Swarn Aloo. Little puffs of golden potato with truffles and gold leaf. Its served with crackers and some excellent chutney. 
Next up was the yellow crab curry. Just enough heat to liven the dish up. The crab was hidden in the pic, but there was plenty of it. All of the entrees we had were served with perfectly cooked jasmine rice and their house chutney with crackers. 
 Next we tried the Butter Chicken You sometimes get the feeling that butter chicken is an afterthought dish that Indian restaurants put on the menu because it's supposed to be there. That is not the case with Commonwealth's. The chicken was not trimmings that had been simmering for hours, or leftovers. It was fresh, trimmed, boneless, and perfectly cooked. A very pleasant dish that was thoughtfully prepared.

 As I do, when I can, I popped into the kitchen to see what it looked like. Very high-tech, contemporary, and clean. That's what I like to see.
 The expo side of the line was also well stocked and clean. You can see the Micros Kitchen Display unit hanging from the center beam.
Overall, an excellent dining experience. It brings some much needed upscale (not just up-priced as we've seen from other restaurants in Pike on Rose) product and service to an area that really wasn't turning out to be a promising dining destination. 
General Manager DJ Joshi was very hospitable during our visit and it's clear that under his and Sunil's guidance this will be a very popular place on the Pike. Worth a visit. Take your time, enjoy the atmosphere and the food. It's like a little breather in the middle of the craziness of Rockville.
If you go, tell them where you heard about it!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

New Kam Fong - Maybe It's Me

New Kam Fong
2400 University Blvd. West
Wheaton, MD 20902

I'd read about NKF from a social media post about where to eat now in Silver Spring. I saw their pictures of lovely looking crispy pork belly, duck, and other unctuous goodies. I had to go.
It's in a very mixed portion of Wheaton, plenty of ethnic restaurants, kind of across the street from Max's Kosher.
I came, I ordered, I ate. Kind of.
 When you see a display like this you start feeling the anticipation of a fantastic meal. Always so cool when you find a reasonably priced ethnic restaurant.
 My dining companion ordered a spicy Szechuan chicken dish and requested it with extra, extra heat. I tasted his first. No heat. It was a harbinger of things to come.
 OMG! Look at this plate! So much promise!
I ordered the triple meat combo with roasted pork, crispy pork and duck.
Maybe it's me, maybe not, but nothing was actually hot. The pork and chicken were both just above room temperature. The fat as not rendered nearly enough in either, and they don't give you a knife, and when I asked for an extra napkin I was handed a diaphanous 8" paper square. Not nearly enough to handle all the digging I had to do to get to edible chunks of meat.
The flavor was good in the parts that were edible, but seriously, I have no idea how the health department hasn't spoken with them about their food temperatures.
Needless to say, it was disappointing. I really wanted to like it, and I thought I would, but when it came down to it, there wasn't enough on the plus side of the score card.
Thanks for reading!