7421 Maple Lawn Boulevard, Fulton, MD 20759 (http://anandarestaurant.net/)
Usually when you hear the words suburban restaurant, your mind will immediately start to see chains, Olive Garden, Chili’s, and TGI McFunster’s (thanks, Anthony Bourdain). But every once and a while, you’ll find something new: an independently owned and operated restaurant, with a fresh take. Enter Ananda, located in a building with no signage in the middle of the mostly residential neighborhood of Maple Lawn.
The restaurant, from the same owners as Ambassador Room in Baltimore, features rich, mahogany woods and leather, making for an intimate and grand dining room. The building also has an annex which has three glass garage door enclosures which open up to the outside during warm weather, and provide for a view year-round. As for the food, Ananda offers some updated and fine dining takes on Indian cuisine.
On my most recent trip, for “Bliss Hour” with my wife, we were able to order several smaller dishes. The Meat Samosa with Pulled Lamb had a well cooked pastry exterior, along with a wintry mix of lamb and seasonal vegetables seasoned perfectly. The Kerala Cake, Ananda’s version of a crab cake was made up of mostly crab (though it was backfin and
not jumbo lump), mixed lightly with corn, sautéed vegetables, and pan-fried. A nice mix of Indian flavors, and a Maryland staple. The restaurant’s take on the diner classic onion right, the Onion Bajia was crisp and packed a spicy punch – offset by the sweet and delicious Tamarind sauce. I could eat Ananda’s naan all day long, particularly with the Vegetable Jalfrezi, the curry which
makes me, for a moment, not miss meat in my dinner. Service here can range from attentive to aloof, but always friendly. The one thing I wish is that service were a little more even across the board.
With Ananda, owners Keir and Binda Singh have proven that there is originality alive and well in the suburbs. Now, when are others going to take notice and follow suit?
Atmosphere: The restaurant sits in an unmarked building the Maple Lawn neighborhood of Fulton, Maryland (Hello Suburbs!). Dark wood and leather give the dining room a regal and den-like feel. The servers are friendly, though some are better than others when it comes to service.
Noise: A well-known suburban location, the dining room effectively disperses much of the chatter, so normal conversational volumes are good to go.
Recommended Dishes: Meat Samosa with Pulled Lamb, Kerala Cake, Onion Bajia, Vegetable Jalfrezi
Reservations: Accepted; we had no trouble getting a seat at the bar, but the dining room can fill up during the weekends
$$$ – $50 to $100 for dinner for two
Note: This review originally ran on December 23, 2015 on our old site and was re-published on WordPress.