Once again, we headed for Virginia Beach to ring in the New Year with friends. In order to avoid wasting the first beach day with an all-day drive, we spent the night before in the Short Pump suburb of Richmond VA. Our Richmond resident friend Amy recommended Lehjah, an Indian restaurant literally one step from our chosen hotel. We got there at 9pm, and enjoyed a lovely dinner. Lehjah is not your momma's Indian restaurant - drawing from culinary traditions not restricted to the Punjabi style usually featured in US Indian restaurants, the unusual combinations of spices and seasonings danced on our tongues.
|Special Lamb Appetizer|
This tasty cross between a kebab and a kofta (meatball) packed some heat, especially when dipped in either of the two sauces on the plate. A bit of white radish balanced out the spice, which stood up to the lamb but did not overpower it.
|Achari Warqi Paratha - Paratha with Achar (Indian pickles)|
|Bob's: Chicken Chettinadu: Chicken Morsels, Coconut, Roasted Coriander Powder, Star Anise, Chilies|
|Mine: Paneer- Asparagus Lazzatdar: Paneer Chunks, Awadhi Style Garlic-Tomato-Cilantro Sauce, Asparagus|
Both entrees presented different palates of flavor, and the house made Paneer (cheese) was worth the price of admission all by itself! You can see the Basmati rice, and other omitted photos from this set, by clicking through any photo to the Flickr album. Good thing we stuck to "medium" on the heat with these!
Though our Hyatt House offered a made-to-order eggs breakfast until 9:30am, we decided to hold out for Virginia Chef Peter Chang's latest venture - a noodle and dumpling house literally across the sprawling shopping mall from our hotel.
|Dumplings are made by hand|
|There is a magnificent spread of condiments and sauces to try|
The beet-colored one features, well, beets. And ginger. Recommended for the Bao, which we did not sample, I tasted it with the pan fried dumpling and thought it worthy of tasting.
|麻辣牛肉拉面 Mala Beef Noodle Soup|
This steamy bowl, combining beef and noodles with Baby Bok Choy, offered a beautiful hit of "ma la" or numbing hot from Szechuan peppercorns. The noodles in this dish, and the Dan Dan Noodles below were also made in house. What a difference a freshly made noodle makes!
|四川担担面 Sichuan Dan Dan Noodle, Sichuan bean sprouts, Diced tofu, Scallion|
Forget tasting any tofu in the tofu - it merely acted as a foil against the rapier heat of both red chilies and Szechuan peppercorns. Glad we ordered this version "mild."
|猪肉饺子或锅贴 Pork Dumplings (Pan-fried), Ground Pork, Napa cabbage, Scallion.|
Beautiful made-from-scratch potstickers, served with a garlicky dipping sauce (also available on the condiment bar). These can also be ordered steamed, and the steamed dumplings we saw go by made me regret that we already had leftovers and couldn't try one more bite.
Yes, we sweated a little while enjoying this brunch, but we had fun playing with this food!
Noodles and Dumplings by Peter Chang
11408 W.Broad St.,
Glen Allen,VA 23060