Curry & Pie, which replaced late-night student hangout Eat & Joy, presents a modern take on the flavors of Indian cuisine. The restaurant, which opened this month, primarily serves authentic curries and innovative pizza pies. The eatery’s attempt to master Indian fusion is promising and sure to attract hungry clientele given its location, but it sometimes falls victim to blandness that compromises its spice-heavy foundation.
At first glance, Curry & Pie gives off the impression of a small restaurant focused on quick and easy takeout. However, a set of stairs directly to the right of the cramped first-floor entrance leads into a more refined dining arrangement. A collection of tables covered in white tablecloths and topped with fine silverware fill out the area nicely without creating too cramped of an environment. Even with a somewhat obscure mixture of artwork filling out the walls, the overall setup is one conducive to an enjoyable meal.
Upon settling in at a table, menus and water are quickly provided. The menu is divided into 10 distinct sections. With assistance from my waiter and dining partner, the Chicken Korma curry, Curry Pie pizza and a serving of classic naan bread made their way to the table. This trio gave me the opportunity to sample dishes across the full spectrum of their offerings.
The first plate I chose to delve into was the Curry Pie pizza (the fact that it was called the Curry Pie at Curry & Pie led me to believe that the dish was a signature). In addition, the menu description claiming it to be “seriously fusion” suggested that it would include a melody of intense flavor. Although the taste was by no means bad, it lacked a certain burst of spice. The idea of a curry sauce topped with cheese and chicken has the potential to carry robust flavors, yet in this case, the taste was much more muted. In the words of a fellow diner, the Curry Pie pizza was “kind of fusion, but surprisingly bland.”
The next dish sampled was the curry. The Chicken Korma, a creamy, nut-based mixture, was served with an accompaniment of white rice. The combination of the two created a pleasing, yet again subtle, flavor profile.
Other diners used words such as “underwhelming” and “indistinguishable” to describe the dish on its own. Even so, it was cooked to an ideal temperature and seemed to be on the brink of a breakthrough to something great. Incorporating the naan bread proved to be the key to unlocking its brilliance. By dipping the bread into the curry, an entirely new dimension of savory flavor emerged. The typical flair that one associates with authentic Indian cuisine finally became a reality.
When we were finished with the meal, our waiter very politely provided us with boxes for the leftover food alongside the check. This attitude was the norm throughout the meal, as the staff remained attentive to our needs, yet wasn’t overbearing in any way. The check itself came to around $25 for two, an average price for your typical Georgetown meal.
In an area as diverse as D.C., ethnic eateries are truly presented with the opportunity to shine. From Ethiopian to Latin-American, all types of food can flourish when they achieve high levels of flavor.
The lack of any Indian restaurants within the immediate vicinity of Curry & Pie opens up the potential for success and customer interest. Additionally, the proximity to Georgetown’s campus means that a large percentage of its clientele will presumably be college-aged students, and the restaurant’s takeout option and extended late-night hours on weekends cater to their precise needs. By capturing the appetites of those looking for a quick midnight snack as well as those in search of a nicer, distinct sit-down meal, Curry & Pie has placed itself in an enviable position.
I would certainly recommend giving the eatery a try. Once Curry & Pie is able to elevate its food to a consistent level of flavorful fusion, I expect nothing less than great curry and great pie.