Restaurant review: Jaipur

One of the reasons that I haven't been updating much lately is because I've been doing a lot of running around after I get home from work, usually to take care of errands. Every once in a while, though, Lyssa and I make the time to spend with some friends whom we don't get to see during the week. On Saturday night, for example, we gathered up everyone we could after Mad Scientist Coffee and headed out to Jaipur Royal Indian Cuisine (9401 Lee Highway; Unit 105 (at the Circle Towers); Fairfax, VA; 22031; phone 703-766-1111; fax 703-766-1113) for a long-over Indian dinner on the town. Jaipur came highly recommended by not a few people; some said that it's the closest thing to home cooking that they've had while in the States. My first tip-off that we were in for a treat was the papadums: the crunchy chip-like things set out at Indian restaurants which you're supposed to put one of a number of sauces on to tide you over until the waiter comes. They were very fresh, and had a little bit of a zap to them which snuck up after swallowing. Such surprises are always a good sign. The vegetable samosas Orthaevelve and I ordered were light, flaky, and cooked to perfection, but an order only gives you one, so if you're looking to share with people, order multiple appetizers. The hot chai tea was also extremely tasty and definitely not the boxed concentrate that gets mixed up so often. I'm told that the murgh tikka (chicken marinated in spiced yogurt and then grilled) was excellent, and the kadhai choli (curried chickpeas, which is my standard benchmark for an Indian restaurant) was delicious. Unfortunately I didn't keep track of what everyone else ordered, so I'll have to add them as comments later.

We had more than enough bread to go around even though we lost track of exactly who ordered what; kulcha do piaza (bread stuffed with minced onions) served as the perfect counterpoint to my kadhai choli. Orders of methi paratha (whole wheat bread stuffed with fenugreek leaves), paneer kulcha (bread stuffed with cheese), and pudhina paratha (whole wheat bread.. you guessed it, stuffed, though with mint leaves this time). By the time the meal was over, you practically had to roll us out of the front door.

Overall, the biggest problem we encountered at Jaipur was the service. It was very slow and not terribly attentive. Long stretches of time passed before our orders were taken, before our appetizers arrived, and before the entrees actually hit the table. We also did not have enough rice on the side for as many people as we had at the table, and the additional bowls of jasmine rice we'd requested simply never arrived, which was a minor annoyance. On the whole, I give Jaipur Indian Cuisine of Fairfax, Virginia a two and one-half flaregun rating due to the distracted and generally poor service, though the food is excellent. If you go here for dinner or the lunchtime buffet, you will certainly be in for a treat, though I recommend bringing a book or a couple of friends with you because you'll probably be in for a wait.