Woodlands!…in Langley Park, MD
Fans of South Indian food will know of the popular restaurant chain Woodlandsin India. So imagine my surprise when I found out a few months ago that they also have restaurants here in the United States! (Hint: I was pretty surprised.) I was curious to see how the Maryland version stacked up against its Indian counterpart, which I still remembered more than six years after my original visit – so it was pretty good – and so after a long day of laundry and apartment cleaning, P and I headed over to check it out.
The first thing we noticed about the stateside version of Woodlands (website | menu | Yelp) was its location. Not the most glamorous of neighborhoods or the classiest-looking
loiterers people around, but we didn’t feel unsafe.
The second thing we noticed, upon entering the foyer, was a handwritten sign saying that they only accepted cash. I’m not sure if this was a temporary glitch or a usual policy, but it would have been useful to see that somewhere on their website. We made a brief detour to the Bank of America ATM across the parking lot and then returned.
Once we came back, we ordered onion bhajias, a.k.a. pakodas, as an appetizer; Jaipori paneer dosai and special rava masala dosai (which is my go-to) as entrees, and a mango lassi to split. The onion bhajias were great! Crispy but not too oily, and served with two chutneys. I held on to the chutneys to eat with my dosai.
Sorry, I didn’t take any photos of the food. It seemed too yuppie for a place like this.
The dosais were pretty good, too, if a little overcooked in some places. Jaipori paneer dosai was a new dish to me, and quite tasty with a small pile of seasoned paneer wrapped in the dosai as you may expect masala to be. The rava masala dosai was good, too. My one complaint was that the sambar was a little weak – not much of a zing to it, and it was really more soupy than anything. As for the lassi, I liked it but P was not a big fan (more for me!). I’ll say this: it was definitely a lassi, so if your mango beverage tastes run more toward juices or smoothies, it’s not for you.
Would I go back? Probably. It’s a seven-minute drive away, solidly good food for good prices (our total was less than $30), I had enough leftovers for another meal, and it’s one of few places around here that serves South Indian food. But have I had better? Yes. Udupi Palace (website | menu | Yelp) and Mayuri (website | menu | Yelp) in the South Bay are two examples that come to mind. Interestingly, Yelp had better things to say about Woodlands than either of those, but that may be more a result of geography than anything else.