Aatish on the Hill (Pakistani/Indian)
There are at least two camps of ethnic food eaters. One tribe seeks out the smallest and dingiest places possible. All of the other diners must belong to that ethnic group, and the food is "authentic." The other tribe prefers high end restaurants with a celebrated chef that "draws on his/her heritage" when re-inventing classic dishes (from either their native cuisine or preferably, something more mainstream). The food is "inspirational." Food critics try to move seamlessly between these two camps to evaluate what qualifies as "authentic" and what qualifies as "inspirational."
The reason I like places like Aatish is that it's neither of those. It's in Capitol Hill and has white table clothes, but it's also pretty cheap and offers delivery and a lunch buffet. It's decidedly middle rent.
- I've never had Pakistani food, but I've eaten plenty of Indian foods. So I'm just going to assume that the foods I didn't recognize were the Pakistani portion of the menu. For example, when we were seated, the waiter brought us an order of pappadam - a lentil cracker. (Tasty.)
- Kathryn had the chicken biryani, a sort of fried rice that we frequently have delivered from a neighborhood Indian place.
- I had a pretty interesting dish that seemed to represent Pakistan's geography. The seekh kabab masala is a grilled kabab of ground beef (Middle Eastern) then stewed in a masala sauce (Indian). A solid blend of two of my favorite dishes.
- We also split an order of aloo pratha, a hearty bread stuffed with potatoes and peas. Paired with the cucumber yogurt sauce, it was probably the highlight of the meal.