Pansaari is a really cool concept: an underground Indian restaurant with an open kitchen,
low tables with floor seating and spices for sale. You walk down a flight of external stairs to the basement of a drab building on 17th street near Dupont Circle and you’re immediately transported into a beautiful, expansive, South Asian-inspired space. I went for brunch on a Sunday. Pansaari’s brunch offerings eschew American brunch options in favor of a purely Indian menu, offering dosas, kati rolls, parathas, and chaat plus drinks such as chai and South Indian coffee, as well as desserts. I ordered a Mysore masala dosa, as well as a South Indian coffee.
Interestingly, you place your order when you enter, bring your receipt to the open kitchen and then take a seat. Everything was going smoothly but for the fact that the people working the open kitchen, who were also serving as food runners, couldn’t keep straight who had ordered what. This confusion could have been resolved by simply having numbers on the tables, as most places that use this format do. Instead, we waited for a long time for our food, which was a frustrating aspect of a brunch that otherwise had a lot of potential.
When the food finally arrived, it was delicious, but those with sensitive palates might want to ask them to lay off on the spicy heat (I like spice but one of my friends found her cheese paratha overpowering). I really liked my South Indian coffee, which reminded me of Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk. This place is a unique and really cool spot with lots of potential. It would earn 5 stars but for the service issues, which should be easy for them to fix.
Pansaari is located at 603 17th St NW.