Warm up this winter with the a bevy of spice from this Pakistani eatery.




Photo by Stefanie Gans.

20921 Davenport Drive, Sterling; toosso.com

It took five weeks to adhere almost 23,000 bottle caps to the back wall of Toosso. While that seems like enough of a task, imagine doing this with your spouse’s family.

With her husband and his brother and sister, Amna Siddiqui opened a casual Pakistani restaurant in Sterling. “They are my in-laws, so I do have to be politically correct,” jokes Siddiqui, who manages the front of the house. Her husband and brother-in-law manage the business and her sister in-law is the cook: self-taught and employing family recipes. They are all from Pakistan, with previous professions ranging from photography to IT.

The food is simple—and spicy—Pakistani street food. It’s similar to Indian, but Siddiqui thinks Pakistani food is, on the whole, spicier.  Mushy—the right kind of creamy-mushy—lentils fit into a crispy shell for a samosa, and are better dipped into the jammy sour-sweet-spicy tamarind chutney. Chicken (a little dry) steams with rice in a biryani bowl, again, with grains that meld together. The housemade roti wraps were our favorite, especially the soft chickpeas in a warm brown gravy—with plenty of heat. -Stefanie Gans

(December 2013)

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