Vienna / Indian / $$
A butter chicken enchilada. Puffy naan flavored with truffle oil. An Indian-spiced take on deviled eggs. Chef Deepak Sarin may not be new to the restaurant game, but decades into his career, he’s definitely not afraid of innovation.
He also doesn’t shrink away from hard work. Sarin splits his time between Bansari on the Fairfax-Vienna border and Bhai Sahab in Leesburg. He prepares Indian classics with the boldest flavors in our region at both, but while he specializes in hard-to-find traditional dishes like a vegetarian Rajasthani thali in Loudoun, Bansari is his culinary laboratory for fresh ideas.
That also includes regional recipes you won’t find anywhere else. Amritsari tandoori chicken masala is one such delight. Deeply marinated poultry pieces bob in a spicy tomato sauce calmed by a drizzle of cream. The already complex mashup of flavors inherits additional depth when you upgrade your bread to that truffle naan or, for that matter, pudina paratha, with its refreshing mint leaves.
Don’t miss the Indo-Chinese dishes, either. Fiery hakka noodles and tangy paneer 65 will add spice to your life in ways you probably weren’t expecting. But anything Sarin proffers will likely have your taste buds firing on all cylinders.
See this: A stylish brick dining room is filled with bookshelves and birdcage-shaped chandeliers.
Eat this: Paneer 65, Amritsari tandoori chicken masala, truffle naan
Service: Solid. Ask for recommendations, and you’ll get lots of great information.
When to dine here: A casual night with friends who love spice as much as you do.
This post originally appeared in our November 2021 issue’s Best Restaurants cover story. For more food reviews, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.