PLM LOVES: Local Asian Restaurants

Article by Marie Robey Wood, Sarah Rezvani

Photography by Ankit Sharma and Sandro Victoriano

Originally published in Potomac Lifestyle

First-time visitors to the Commonwealth Indian Restaurant located in North Bethesda's Pike and Rose development are in for a surprise: owner Sunil Bastola has decorated the restaurant in a stunning, unique style. Walls with gold motifs, some with a herringbone design, adorn the rooms. You can spot two-dimensional Bengal tigers playing on the walls while a huge flowered peacock in a garden greets you on another wall, And don't miss the sculptures in glass cases. 

The restaurant boasts a 100-seat dining room and a bar replete with velveteen-upholstered chairs. And if you are in the mood for a cocktail Commonwealth Indian offers a menu of classic drinks and spirits, but the "One Night in Bombay" special was a big hit among our group of diners. According to Trina Cox "This drink had cilantro and jalapeno that gave it just a wonderful kick. It's a 'melt-in-your-mouth' 'drink. You should definitely come and have some."

Appetizers include vegetable samosas, a crowd favorite. The samosas are a good size and filled with vegetables and enclosed in a light, flaky crust. The coastal shrimp was another popular choice of appetizer. The fried shrimp are sauteed in a special house dressing -- it's spicy but delicious. Finally, the mango avocado salad is another appetizer that includes mixed greens and a delicious cumin dressing. 

The traditional naan was very tasty, both the plain and the garlic. Servers are quick to fill water glasses and Pratap, who was assigned to our table, was especially attentive and helpful. 

Marie Wood, Writer

"Although I visited India in the past I am not very familiar with Indian food, hence my choice of the yellow crab curry. I am so happy I chose it! Large chunks of lump crabmeat floated in a rich curry sauce. It was seasoned just right and I would love to order it again."  

Ben Fischer, Videographer

"Although I don't go out to eat Indian food very often, after coming here I will definitely "go Indian" more than I used to. This restaurant is beautiful, the food is great, and the service is terrific! The chunks of chicken in my butter chicken dish were big and fresh and perfectly seasoned."

Tony Powell, Photographer

"I can always count on finding something vegan on the menu in an Indian restaurant. I really enjoyed Commonwealth India's dish of chick peas, cauliflower, and spinach with a spicy, curry sauce." 

Trina Cox, Creative Director

Trina enjoyed the restaurant's lamb rogan josh which she described as "super tasty and very tender, The lamb almost fell off the bone with a nice, succulent Indian flavor that melts in your mouth. Just delectable." She added that "the vegetable plate was also delicious, perfectly seasoned with cumin and curry. The meal  was so artistic and included roses, adding a nice touch."  

Finally, there is always room for dessert and offerings of different ice cream flavors as well as a delicate creme brulee topped off an outstanding Valentine's Day meal for all of us.

Patrons visiting Lao Sze Chuan Restaurant situated in North Bethesda will enjoy a warm welcome on arrival and upon passing through stately double doors, enter into a modern and sophisticated setting with soaring ceilings. The impressively expansive interior boasts a dining room for both intimate dining and large parties, as well as a sumptuous bar; all complete with deep, velvet seating, sultry decor of rich dark hues and we haven’t even gotten to the food.

The menu featured an appealing array of wines and select beers, but it was the craft cocktails that dazzled. Literally, the Jade Empress lavender lychee martini sparkled with edible glitter as did the lime garnish that topped the popular Golden Tiger.

The marbled table featured an ingenious design – a spinning centerpiece (aka lazy susan) –  that allows parties to try every dish including the LSC Four Flavorful Cold Dish Platter which expands the palette into exotic tasting territory, staples such as the Shanghai Vegetable Spring Roll and a memorable favorite, the Never Forget Chicken.

After appetizers and seeing nearby diners being served by our genteel waiter Randy accompanied by robots, we were treated to the Peking Duck presented by Chef Lin Yong himself. A Hong Kong-style cut, the duck is oven-roasted for sixty-eight minutes to melt the fat, leaving the skin crispy and meat juicy. 

After a superior 3-course meal and plans to return in future for dessert, our group heartily agreed that Lao Sze Chaun is the place to go for authentic Sichuan fare.

KC Cole, Publisher

"Just wow! This soup was a perfect balance of fresh and spicy. It instantly caught my attention when reading the menu and it truly did not disappoint. This dish is unforgettable and for me, the highlight of the night. I cannot wait return to share this with more friends and family."

Ankit Sharma,  Photographer

"I was surprised when the dish arrived at my table in flames! It made the experience very exciting. The presentation of the flaming dish was just as wonderful as the taste. And the meat literally comes right off the bone."

Anicia Juarez, Social Media Coordinator

“The deep-fried chicken with scallion and fried garlic was absolutely delicious. The moment I bit into the chicken I was delighted with a burst of flavor. It was juicy, flavorful and cooked to a perfect crisp. I would 10 out of 10 recommend this dish and Lao Sze Chaun for anyone looking for date ideas this Valentine's day.”

Sarah Rezvani, Managing Editor

"I'm always one for a story and loved the tale of the over 1,000-year-old recipe and preparation for the duck. It's my favorite fowl and the bite-size bits of crisp skin paired with brown sugar was a treat for my taste buds."

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