Washington Post reviews: Commonwealth Indian is dressed to thrill in Rockville

Washington Post reviews: Commonwealth Indian is dressed to thrill in Rockville

From The Washington Post Magazine: Two Stars (good)

Now along comes Commonwealth Indian, raising the design bar in Rockville with its 100-seat bar and dining room in the Pike & Rose development. I’ve seen no other restaurant that looks like it. Two-dimensional Bengal tigers, cut from metal, cavort on the walls, and the illusion of a peacock in a garden is created from a bunch of colorful faux flowers and plants. Globe-shaped lights shimmer beneath an ornate, gold-painted ceiling. The look sets a tone, raises diners’ expectations and suggests the owner cares as much about comfort as he does about cooking.

Commonwealth Indian focuses mostly on the food of the north, sometimes with a twist, almost always with a flourish. That Indian workhorse, lamb kebab, is presented with a semicircular hedge of chopped tomato, cucumber and onion, a sparkling contrast to the soft rope of lamb shot through with ginger and coriander. Paneer bonda, fried balls of the crumbled cheese in a veneer of spiced gram flour, are served on sticks like savory pops and embedded in a thick red pepper-onion sauce.

South India is represented, and well, by Chettinad murgh, chicken cloaked in yogurt, chile paste and black pepper and cooked over a low fire with onions and tomatoes. What should sting — vindaloo, for instance — does, although the heat tends to be revealed in little waves rather than bugle blasts. See: sauteed shrimp in a tamarind-tart sauce of coconut milk, and subtly smoky with Kashmiri chiles.

Commonwealth Indian (Good) 11610 Old Georgetown Rd., Rockville. 240-833-3055. commonwealthindian.com.

Open: Daily for lunch or brunch and dinner. Prices: Lunch appetizers $9 to $12, entrees $12 to $19; dinner appetizers $8 to $15, entrees $19 to $29. Sound check: 70 decibels/Conversation is easy. Accessibility: No steps. Two broad doors lead to the foyer. Restrooms are equipped with roomy stalls and grab bars.

Read the rest of the review here.

Amy Ginsburg


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