I am at a bit of a loss as to how to properly review Spice Xing (Rockville, MD), because Indian food is new for me (and a bit too hot for my tender taste buds!). Spice Xing is the younger sibling of the more established Passage to India restaurant (Bethesda, MD). Opening about a year ago in Rockville Town Center, it has proven to be a nice compliment to the ethnically diverse food selections available in the newer development.
All the elements for a nice restaurant are there – The interior is beautifully decorated, with a high cloth draped ceiling in the main dining room, and great photos of spices in the bar dining area. The staff is friendly, attentive and knowledgeable, the drinks are inventive yet classic, and the menu features Mughali style Indian food with a focus on dishes that have been shaped by culinary influences of outside cultures.
We started with a lovely cocktail – the Anglo-Indian, made with Hendricks gin, Angostura Bitters and an interesting Ginger Liqueur (Domaine de Canton Ginger). This nicley aromatic concoction is served in a martini class with a cucumber slice as a garnish. Very refreshing on a muggy summer night!
Then, we decided to explore the menu by sampling off of the “small plates” section of the menu, starting with Garlic Nan that was served with three sauces – A yogurt/mint sauce, a spicy-sweet Tamarind Chutney, and a Hot Green Herbal sauce (spicy green peppers add a nice kick!)
The bread and sauces were delicious. The nicely garlicky Nan, with crispy charred bits and thicker, chewier parts boded well for the meal to come. The sauces complimented the bread nicely, but the bread stands up very well on its own. I kept going back and trying the hot green sauce even though it was well outside of my standard heat comfort zone because the flavor was incredible!
Next, we ordered lamb and scallops. Two beautiful lamb chops came with more of the minty yogurt sauce and a nice cucumber salad. The chops were tender and juicy – cooked perfectly. As for the flavor – this is where I start to get a little fuzzy. The hot green sauce had seared my tastebuds, and I was not able to discern flavors for the rest of the evening 😦
The scallops were nicely cooked as well, but they came tossed in an even HOTTER sauce – a spicy tomato based sauce that was way too hot for my taste (and yes, I tried cooling off with the yogurt sauce). The menu highlights the scallops as having French influences in the dish… I couldn’t tell you.
With the help of our waitress, we were able to find some items with less heat, but the flavors still escaped me… Kulcha stuffed with Paneer was basically Nan stuffed with a mild crumbly cheese. It was pleasantly chewy and crispy like with the garlic nan, but filled with a thin layer of the cheese. The color and texure of the cheese reminded me a little of crumbled up hard-boiled egg yolks. The dish was pleasant, but I liked the Garlic Nan better.
Finally, the Baby Dosa – my favorite dish of the evening!! My tastebuds had recovered a little bit by this point, and this wonderful dish really hit the spot! (Our sympathetic and helpful waitress recommended this dish, and I am grateful!).
Baby Dosa is a thin rice pancake folded up and served over what can best be described as a potato and onion hash. Wrap the potato mixture in pieces of the pancake for a delicious treat. This dish was served with a coconut curry and a red curry. The red curry was quite hot, but the medium-hot coconut curry was a nice compliment. I ate most of the dish sauce free, but was very glad that I tried them.
My mother was my dining companion – she handles the heat quite well, and was very happy with dinner. She is, in fact, a return customer to this establishment. So please do not let me scare you away! She ALSO took the beautiful pictures (thank you!!!) 🙂
All in all – my first foray into Indian cuisine was interesting, and enjoyable. I really wish that I could have tasted more of the nuanced flavors that I have been told were present in the dishes. I would definitely go back and give it another try, but I think Iwould start out with less heat and build up through the meal. *We DID hear another server asking a table how much heat the people liked, so perhaps you can tailor your meal to your palate.*
100 Unit B
Rockville MD 20850
Tel : 301-610-0303
Email : email@example.com