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Walk into the Hershey’s Ice Cream shop on McPherson Square and face a fork in the road: Do you want two scoops of ice cream or two scoops of curry? The frozen treat shop came under new ownership a month and a half ago according to an employee who hails from Kerala, India. That’s when they started serving curry from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., including aloo chole (a Punjabi curry of chickpeas and potato) and navaratan curry (a mixed vegetable curry).

If you skip the mint chocolate chip and order Indian instead, expect to be greeted by wide-smiling employees. They’re eager to dish out comfort food from their home country. Patrons can select one curry with rice for $5.50 or two curries with rice for $6.50. Pair either with a tangy, “home made” mango lassi.

So how’s the curry? Its greatest merits are that it’s cheap and filling. Unless the cook has ninja-like knife skills, the vegetables in the navaratan curry must come from a can (think Del Monte mixed vegetables). The shapes are too precise, too uniform. And only corn, peas, carrots, and potatoes are discernible, which means the dish is five vegetables short of living up to its name. Navaratan translates to “nine gems.” 

The potato chickpea curry is better, but has the same watered down, mild flavor more suitable for children than flavor chasers. The rice, however, is fragrant and on point and the small tubs of plain yogurt that come with the meal add some tang (though raita would be ideal). 

Here’s hoping they settle in and quickly grasp that D.C. can handle the heat. In the meantime, at least the price is right. 

Hershey’s Ice Cream, 927 15th St. NW; (202) 408-1306

All photos by Laura Hayes