STReservations are not usually necessary. Cash only, although credit card service may be available in the near future. Customers in wheelchairs should call ahead. Carry-out service. Open daily, 11:30 to 2:30 for lunch, 5:30 to 11:30 for dinner.
Perhaps because our children are getting older and, we like to think, more open-minded, we are able to try types of food that were out of the question a couple of years ago. We went out on a limb the other evening and took them to FaisUda which serves Indian and vegetarian cuisine.
The girls, ages 8 and 10, liked it, and were as fascinated by the operation of this tiny, family-run restaurant as they were by the Indian cooking.
FaisUda, named for the owners' son, Faisal, 10, and their daughter, Huda, 7, is located in a brick colonial house in the middle of high rise apartments and motels on Colesville Road in Silver Spring. The dining and living rooms of the house were filled with tables covered with plastic cloths and linen napkins, and Indian music played in the background. The mother, who works in real estate during the day, filled orders in the kitchen. The father served as waiter, cook, dishwasher and host. The family is from Bombay.
FaisUda is a modest but ambitious undertaking offering dozens of dishes, and, as might be expected, some are middling and others are fit for a Rajah. For the faint-hearted a tuna salad and a hamburger platter, both $2.95, are offered.
Everybody got paddad with their meals. This is flat, unleavened bread, lightly seasoned and deep-fried like giant potato chips. One child had puri, also fried unleavened bread which puffs up during the cooking and is doughier than the paddad.
Appetizers start at $1.30 and include a number of fritters made with things like cheese, chick peas or chicken. We ordered one made with potato, lentils and spices that was served with excellent chutney sauce.
We were told on the menu that "our food is toned down for American taste.However, if you like it SPICY-HOT you can get it that way."
My brother-the-student, who had joined us for dinner, set himself on fire when he ordered the Roghan Josh, $6.50 - a lamb curry - with the extra spices. As he mopped his brow and frantically flagged the waiter for more water, he swore he loved every bite.
The rest of us were less inclined to self-immolation, at least not deliberately. The girls both had shish kebab, $6; it was admirably flavored but the lamb was overdone. My husband had Khare Masale Ka Gosst, $6.50, which means cubes of meat cooked with onions and whole spices.Very good.
At least a dozen vegetarian entrees ranging from $3.50 to $5 appear on the menu. I chose Paneer Palak, $4.25, made with spinach and homemade cheese and spooned over rice. The cheese - hard, bland cubes - I could have done without, but the rest was nicely seasoned, adding up to a satisfying and off-beat meal.
I also ordered Raitha, 75 cents, a cold combination of cucumber and yogurt which I had eaten elsewhere and liked. It looked harmless enough, but in seconds my mid-section was ablaze.
All the meals were served with rice dressed up with lemon slices, spring onions and parsley.
The dishes made with shrimp, beef, lamb or chicken range from $5 to $6.50, and many are cooked with vegetables, nuts, rice and herbs. "Chef's recommendations" must be ordered 24 hours in advance and include things like a full, spiced leg of lamb for $12.95 and roasted cornish hen for $7.95.
The dessert menu offers such exotica as mangos, fried milk balls with cardamon syrup and a "sweet special" which is akin to French toast served with honey.
Smaller portions of the meals are available for children at $3. Beer and wine are offered.
FaisUda, which opened last Christmas Eve, is not the place to go if you are in a hurry, but the service is attentive and the family is anxious to please.
The bill and tip for our children, my husband and I came to $33.10.
Reservations are not usually necessary. Cash only, although credit card service may be available in the near future. Customers in wheelchairs should call ahead. Carry-out service. Open daily, 11:30 to 2:30 for lunch, 5:30 to 11:30 for dinner.