My wife Jun and I are obsessed with Indian food and its dynamic and fiery flavor. We have checked a few places around DC for both dining in and take-outs and had a mix of hits and misses. Recently, we had an errand to run in Old Town Alexandria and I remembered that an Indian restaurant there was featured in the top 5 list of the spring dining guide earlier this year from Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema. Our visit to Kismet Modern Indian turned out to be quite satisfactory.
When it comes to Indian cuisine, the key for us usually hinges on flavor. Indian spices are not certainly for everyone, but there is just something that is so irresistible when you feel your mouth tingle from all the spiciness. And not all Indian restaurants certainly pull off that flavor without compromising on execution. The word “Modern” in the restaurant’s name gave me a brief pause wondering if the restaurant would lean too much on the modern side without remaining faithful to the country’s dynamic culinary root, but my concern quickly dissipated after taking a bite of tandoori cauliflower that came with yogurt, garam masala spices and tomato jus. The texture of the gently roasted cauliflower was good, and the spicy kick from the spices was quite a pleasant surprise. Add very competently grilled minced lamb kebab to your appetizer, and you have a very nice start to your meal at Kismet. Jun and I typically get chicken tikka masala whenever we get Indian food, but our server convinced us to try the homestyle chicken curry and it turned out to be a smart choice. It was a wonderful curry dish, even more so with garlic naan you can dip on the side. The only miss from our dinner was the shrimp with coconut milk-based curry, mostly because its flavor was rather neutral, but it was not enough to diminish our experience at Kismet.
Getting a reservation at the restaurant via Resy is not too difficult and most likely you can even walk in. Kismet has a full bar; I’ve always found pairing Indian food with wine challenging and the beer list at the restaurant is rather diverse so that’s the path that I would recommend for alcoholic refreshment. Just like its name suggests, the dining space is quite sleek but not over the top. Kismet is the type of restaurant that we wish we had closer to our current home in Maryland. It offered mostly very solid dishes and we both agreed that the restaurant is worth more visits in the future to check out other dishes on the menu. If you live in Alexandria or the vicinity, this is a great option to explore Indian cuisine.
KenScale: 8.0/10 (Jun’s Score: 8.0/10)
Address: 111 N. Pitt St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Reservation via Resy