Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I've complained that, working in Penn Quarter, there aren't very many lunch options. Once you take out the variety of expensive restaurants, most of what's left are sandwich places. (Some of which are quite good.) The one place that stands out is Merzi, which founder Kaz Kazmi describes as the Chipotle of Indian food. I've never been to Chipotle, so I can't comment on that. But it is a nice splash of color in an otherwise bland food landscape.

The way it works, you pick out a base, a meat, and a sauce. For the base, your options are rice, naan, lettuce, or chaat (a mix of chickpeas, potatoes, onions, and red bell peppers). Alternatively, you can get it wrapped in a wrap. I've always gone with the chaat, just because it sounds like the tastiest option. For the meat, I've tried the lamb, the 'tandisserie' chicken, and the beef. Don't get the tandisserie chicken. It's bland, and dry, and because it comes in one piece, it's harder to blend with the rest of your food. I prefer the beef to the lamb. It's cheaper, and in smaller pieces, and about as tasty. Your mileage may vary, and it might just be due to the sauce rather than the meat.

Merzi offers six sauce, three hot masalas and three dry chutneys. I've tried the two spicier masalas, the creamy tikka and the onion tomato. The onion tomato is the superior sauce, with a really good kick to it, but the creamy tikka masala is also very good, especially if you're less into spice. In general, the food at Merzi is a bit bland for Indian food, and I wouldn't go out of my way for it, but it's a good addition to the scene in Penn Quarter.


  1. FYI "Merzi" translates to "desire" or "wish." Gotta give this place a try when I'm back in DC!


  2. Wow, you've really never been to a Chipotle???