842 W. 36th St., (410) 889-0999, theverandahbaltimore.net
The Verandah advertises “the best darned Indian street food west of Mumbai.” Considering that the restaurant—which has been located in a small rowhouse on The Avenue since 2011—is also a fixture at local farmers markets, the focus on street food makes sense.
We took advantage of The Verandah’s outdoor seating for lunch and ordered from the especially courteous, knowledgeable staff behind the counter. It turns out, these same friendly women also prepared our food, all of which is made from scratch on site.
The menu is written behind the counter in chalk, with designations for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options, all at very reasonable prices. Serving up samosas, chaat, and different variations of wraps, salads, and larger meals with rice, The Verandah provided cuisine that was comforting and simple, yet tasty.
The vegetarian samosa ($4 for one) had an incredibly light, flaky crust—it had a little less curry than we were used to, but we liked it nonetheless. The tikki chaat ($7), a vegetarian bowl with curried chickpeas, fried potato patties, and cilantro, also had a little less spice than we were hoping for (we like volcanic Indian food). In spite of the spice drought, the flavors were delicious and subtle—and once we added a few of the house-made chutneys the food was served with, we enjoyed the dish even more. The heat we were hoping for finally came in the beef kebab salad. Spiced with cumin, mint, ginger, and garlic, the ground-beef kebab was cooked to a perfect medium and served with warm, pickled red onions over a hefty bed of romaine with lemon vinaigrette.
The Verandah doesn’t offer a lot of frills, but we liked it that way. Its cuisine thrives on its clarity, with a simple number of ingredients in each dish that allows you to enjoy the obvious care put into them.