I just got back from a trip I took to D.C. with my 10-year-old and a couple of friends of mine, and one of our meals particularly stood out: Sri Lankan at Shakthi South Asian Cuisine, in Alexandria on 3807 Mount Vernon Ave., near Glebe Road.
Sri Lankan is, as you might imagine, like Indian, but it has many specialized dishes that one won’t find at a typical Indian restaurant (though, for all I know some South Indian restaurants may have them, too). Kotthu Roti, chopped flatbread (roti) mixed with meat, vegetables and spices was especially tasty, but I also much liked the chicken lamprais, the meat curries and the vegetables (such as eggplant and jackfruit) as well, though don’t expect the jackfruit to taste at all fruity. An excellent bit of variety, I think, for people who know and like Indian food, and would like to branch out.
If you want Sri Lankan, make sure you look at the Sri Lankan page on the menu, not the Indian or the Thai. (For all I know, the Indian and the Thai might be good, too, but we were after the different cuisine, not the old familiar ones.) And, as you might expect, the dinner is quite inexpensive; I think it came to about $26 per person, tax and tip included, and that’s with a whole bunch of dishes and alcoholic drinks.