Monday, July 18, 2016

Knightsbridge Restaurant Group’s Newcomer for Summer Is the Cool, Carefree Bindaas

From our friends at Bindaas...

Ashok Bajaj of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group is pleased to announce the upcoming opening of his latest venture, Bindaas, at 3309 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, DC 20008, next door to Ardeo. Bardeo will be incorporated into Ardeo, to make room for this new 50-seat restaurant and bar, which will feature innovative, street food Indian dishes under the direction of Group Executive Chef Vikram Sunderman.

“The name Bindaas originated in India in 1993 and means independent, cool and carefree, just like I envision this new concept to be,” states Ashok Bajaj. “The restaurant will open with dinner service and brunch will follow. One can also book a reception in the upstairs 40-seat private dining room at Ardeo, with its private deck patio, and have the food catered from neighboring Bindaas. This allows the small oasis Bindaas to be a bigger venue for special occasions.”

Guests can anticipate savory snacks, kebabs, with vegetarian options as well as pork, fish, chicken and beef street food dishes that are easy on the wallet and priced from $9 to $14. For libations, one will find an international wine list, Indian beers and whiskey selections, along with craft cocktails reflecting the spirits and spices of India. A dining experience at Bindaas will range in the $40 to $45 per person price point.

James Beard Foundation’s award-nominated restaurant designer Martin Vahtra of Projects Design Associates of New York is the designer of record for Bindaas. The new interior will incorporate new flooring, acoustical tiles, new furnishings and a new art installation mural of street food vendors along with graffiti one would find in India.

According to Martin Vahtra, Bindaas is being created as a nod toward Indian street food and culture. The open kitchen will become a test kitchen for the chefs to create and delight customers with Indian everyday “delicacies” often unavailable here in the USA and cherished in Indian. Street food in particular does not always mean sitting down for a three-course meal but rather ordering many small dishes, a table full of food ideal for sharing. Casual dinners can be memorable especially when transported to a different country and culture. Food markets give one the smells, flavors and foods of a new place. They offer more authentic experiences than the tourist versions of local dishes in many restaurants. This is the intent of the new open kitchen at Bindaas.

“Imagine trying to recommend to someone the particular stall at which you had the best-ever Bhel Puri,” states Martin Vahtra. “This what we anticipate to happen to Bindaas.”

The first thing guests will notice when they enter Bindaas is the new “Indian silk teal” color on the exterior. It is designed with a warm and rich wood wall of rustic reclaimed beams, influenced by Indian screens and shutters. As one turns the corner, they are faced with a custom mural on the feature wall in the restaurant. This piece of art represents Indian graffiti and street life. Furthermore, the restaurant’s new fabrics and paint colors add a punch of jewel tone color to the space. To create soft mood lighting, new custom pendants are being added that are created from baskets, as a nod to the food markets of India. New bar top lights have been installed to create intimacy for the diner at the bar. The back bar has been redesigned with new display shelves to present an exciting layout and distinguish the new restaurant from its sister restaurant next door. The overall outcome is a new contemporary interior that evokes elements of Indian culture without being clichĂ©.

A small sampling from Vikram Sunderman’s opening menu include dishes such as Pathar Gosht, a lamb kebab cooked on a stone oven served over a bed of saffron rice with saffron and cashews, Uttapam, a fermented rice pancake with lentils and shrimp pepper; Bhel Puri, a Bombay seaside snack with raw mangoes, lentils, puffed rice which is sweet and savory, and a wrap, the Kati Roll with Goan Pork.