I got a craving for Indian food a couple of weeks ago, and Jasper suggested a place by his work that he had been to before, so we hoofed over there despite the snow. Haandi is in a shopping center, next to a Giant grocery. It's a tiny place, maybe 15 booths, with some traditional looking Indian designs including some interesting wall murals.
When talking about Indian food, I find that it is important to distinguish between spicy (hot) and spicy (flavorful), so I will make up a word for the latter - "spiceful". We ordered some Tandoori murgh (chicken) for an appetizer. It's marinated in yogurt and spices, cooked inside a big clay oven, and comes out this beautiful red color that I love. I have never been able to handle spicy food, and I was always afraid that the red color meant that it would be spicy and didn't discover that it was not until a few years ago. Anyway, Haandi's Tandoori chicken is really tender and flavorful with lots of smoke and paprika flavors. It comes on a platter with some big chunks of onion and green pepper. These were almost raw, so we basically ignored them.
For my main dish, I asked the waiter what I should order if I didn't like spicy food, and he said Murgh Makhini without a second of hesitation. Jasper ordered his favorite: chicken Tikka Masala. The dishes were brought out in these really cool handled pots that looked little - but neither of us could finish! Murgh Makhini means butter chicken, it is creamy and flavorful with big chunks of chicken and tons of spices - but not spicy! This is probably the best Indian dish that I have ever had! Jasper's Tikka Masala was really good too, "spiceful" and more tomato-y than creamy. He really loves spicy food, and usually Tikka Masala is really spicy - but not this time, which means that I got to try it! The dishes are served with rice, but it is a must to also order Naan bread (cooked on the side of the Tandoori ovens) - it was warm and pillowy, brushed with a little butter, just the way it should be! I always order a mango lassi (yogurt smoothie) when I eat Indian food - because it complements the spices, and cools and coats your mouth if the food is too spicy! The lassi at Haandi was very good - smooth and sweet with a little tang from the yogurt. I also ordered my favorite dessert - rice pudding. Haandi's rice pudding has a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg and is very creamy - yum!
The prices are pretty good - $15 for an entree that is enough for 2 people - but all the extra accompaniments can add up (naan, raita, etc...). This is definitely the place to go for Indian food in Falls Church!