I have always been a huge fan of the Indian restaurant Indique in Washington, DC. I have often given speeches, moderated and cooked along side events that the co-owner Chef Vinod has been at. I think Chef Vinod is one of THE most talented chefs’ I have ever had the honor of knowing and learning from. His love of food and his experience with ingredients show through in his deeply flavored and textured dishes.

Although I love Indique and it’s sibling Indique Heights, I admit, though, that I am always partial to certain dishes on the menu: the mussels in a fantastic broth of coconut milk and curry leaves and the superb tandoori quail. I always order the same thing!

I visited with a friend (Hi, Ann!)  last week and the server showed us a new menu. I was about to order the mussels when the pork belly caught my eye. It is not an ingredient that you see typically on an Indian menu. And then the veal cheeks and then the Indian lentil wafer stuffed with crabs and then the salmon cake sliders. Needless to say that we ordered the entire appetizer menu with all these dishes (priced under $10.00 each). We made a meal of them and they were just fantastic. The chef has done it again and come up with winning combinations and even made a die-hard like me order different dishes from the menu. Our bill was very reasonable for two and even had a couple of drinks. (Confession: I always order the same drink, a mangotini and did so yet again!)

1. Pork belly with spiced granny smith apple – I feel like it is hard to do a good pork belly but the Chef braised it with white wine, shallots, hot peppers and many warming spices.

2. Veal Cheeks with sweet potato chat and Upma – The veal cheeks are cooked overnight in a tandoori oven making them so soft and tender that they literally melt in your mouth (sorry for the cliche but if the shoe fits).

3. Salmon Slider – A salmon patti that is made into a “burger” and served with tomato chutney.

And finally, another item you don’t see on Indian menus: Masala Grilled Mackerel coated with chili-lemon paste, black pepper and curry leaves.

A definite must try! And thanks to chef for sending along the photos of the slider, pork belly and veal cheeks.

Veal Cheeks:

Pork belly:

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