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Little about Teddy’s Roti Shop makes you want to linger—or even place an order. The boxy space just north of Walter Reed Army Medical Center sports a random collection of banquet-room chairs and tables, some clean, some not. On a hot summer day, the air inside Teddy’s can feel still and heavy enough to presage an oncoming storm—which may well be co-owner David Nagar. I try to avoid him, and his opinions, at all costs. Whatever I think about Nagar’s social skills, however, the guy knows how to make a terrific flatbread. His beef buss-up-shut comes in two separate containers: one for the curry beef with mashed chana and potatoes, and the other for the twisted and gnarled paratha bread (which gives buss-up-shut its name, because it resembles a busted-up shirt). By itself, the dish is lightly spiced but full of flavor, thanks in large part to the flaky wheat flatbread made rich with (the horror!) Crisco. But you can also pair it with Nagar’s hot sauce spiked with tamarind. Just a touch of the stuff and your mouth goes nuclear. Teddy’s does dhalpourie equally well, whether the simple potato-and-chickpea version, or the more gamey goat roti, in which the meat has been cooked to a splendid, fork-tender texture. Whatever you order, though, wash it down with Teddy’s homemade ginger-pineapple drink, which is the perfect spicy-sweet complement to such a hearty, meaty meal. And most important, remember to get everything to go.
7304 Georgia Ave. NW (202) 882-6488
Photo by Darrow Montgomery