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A Special Anniversary — After The Flood

Four years ago this September there was a question as to whether there was a future for the "Dishes of India" restaurant in Belle View Shopping Center. It was inundated by the surging waters of the Potomac River driven by Hurricane Isabel.

Now, just 46 months later, it is celebrating its 10th Anniversary and looking forward to a bright future. "During the flood everything was floating. The tables and chairs were banging against the ceiling," said Gopal Bhatt, manager. The other two principals are restaurant president Naresh Bhatt and chef/owner Ramanand Bhatt.

"It took us nearly a year to get reopened. The reason we are here today is because of a low interest loan from the Small Business Administration. Our damage was well over $200,000," Gopal Bhatt said.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, businesses were aided by the SBA. Residences came under the purview of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"Actually, our 10th anniversary was in June, but we fell a little behind in preparation so we are celebrating it in July," Bhatt said. Patrons have been enjoying a special selection of the restaurant's most popular offerings since July 1.

"We selected two vegetable dishes and two non-vegetable dishes from our customers' most popular choices. We are offering them at dinner for only $10 to mark our 10th Anniversary," he explained.

"The response has been terrific. People have been lined up outside before we even open," Bhatt said. "In fact, we are thinking of putting together such combinations more often — even though it's not an anniversary."

Known and served as "Thali" style, the anniversary offering is composed of five of the restaurant's most popular menu items. "Thali" is a traditional style of dish used in India for offering guests five tastings of the host's favorite cuisine, according to the restaurant's anniversary announcement.

It is being offered Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings throughout July. The five tastings include the following:

. Raita: Cucumber and yogurt sauce

. Murg Makhani: butter chicken

. Began Bharta: roasted mashed eggplant

. Lamb Korma: lamb in cashews and pistachio sauce

. Palak Paneer: home-made cheese with curried spinach and naan and basmati rice

This special offering is complemented by the restaurant's innovative wine list. For an additional $10 they are offering "a tasting of three wines." Patrons can either choose from a selection of wines-by-the-glass or ask for a "best pairing" recommendation.

In addition to the Anniversary Special the regular menu offers a wide array of selections that include chicken, lamb, seafood and vegetable specialties; small dishes and appetizers; as well as various breads, accompaniments, deserts and beverages. Catering is also available.

Specialty entrees, including items from the clay oven "Tandoor," range in price from $9.95 to $17.95. Biryani items are priced from $9.95 to $12.95. Small dishes and appetizers are listed at $3,50 to $8.95.