Posted on 02 / 15 / 2013
I brought my omni parents here recently after having heard exciting things about this restaurant since I went vegan 9 years ago. My family and I are diehard addicts of places like the Sunflower (Vienna, VA), Busboys and Poets (DC), and so forth, so we decided to finally give Amma's Kitchen a try.
Not worth it; will not be going back. First of all, the cashier had no idea what "vegan" meant. I explained that I was interested in dishes that contained no milk, butter, ghee. The cashier then pointed me to a dish that listed yoghurt as its first ingredient. "This is a good choice," he said. "Yoghurt," I said. "Yes," he said. So I had to explain again. We finally narrowed down our choices and selected chole, tofu dosa, and masala dosa, as well as one paneer dosa for my mother. Two main problems:
1) the paneer and tofu dosas were identical. My mother complained and was told that she it all wrong: the dishes were completely different. She pointed out that they looked and tasted the same, and finally the cashier checked in with the chef, who confessed that he'd made a mistake. 10 minutes later, they said they hadn't begun making the dish, and that it would take another 25 minutes, so they didn't really want to. My mother settled for another masala dosa instead, and they credited our bill the difference between the two dishes (they did NOT scratch the order / payment from our bill).
2) Now, my family can handle a moderate amount of spiciness -- whether it's in Indian, Thai, Chinese, Mexican restaurants, or others. We're familiar with all of these different food types. But the amount of spice in this food was RIDICULOUS. We were careful to *only* order those dishes that did NOT have a "spicy" symbol next to them, and we could barely eat our food. I managed, with lots of water and bread breaks, but my father was completely unable to eat. My mouth burned for about an hour afterward.
The food was not even that great. The spices/herbs were rather bland (and overpowered by the chili peppers or what-have-you), and the visual arrangement was uninspiring. I've had much better-tasting (and -looking) South Indian food in London and at friends' houses.
On top of everything else, there is zero ambiance in the place. Plain black metal tables and chairs in a room devoid of character. An unassuming countertop where patrons order food at the back of the room. That's it. You might as well be at a cafeteria.
And the staff were terribly rude and unhelpful.
not vegan-friendly, rude, so spicy!