Bindaas Opens 2nd Eatery in Foggy Bottom
Ashok Bajaj of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group opened the second location of his Bindaas Indian street food restaurant today inside The Shops at 2000 Penn, 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Johnny Rockets previously filled the space.
This location is larger than the original 50-seat location in Cleveland Park, which opened in August 2016. The new 3,500-square-foot restaurant seats 70 in the dining room and another 21 at the bar.
“The location is an ideal one for Bindaas, as it is close to the George Washington University campus in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and the World Bank,” Bajaj said in a press release.
The interior was designed by Martin Vahtra of Projects Design Associates of New York, who also designed the Cleveland Park location, so there are many similarities, like the white walls covered with murals representing Indian graffiti including a moped and man’s face that appear on the walls at the original location. Both restaurants also share pendant lamps made from exposed light bulbs covered with baskets as a nod to Indian food markets.
The first thing diners notice when they enter the front door is a brass-colored screen influenced by Indian screens and shutters. Once inside, a white tile floor with an intricate gray and black design will catch their eye. The color palette continues the white, gray and black theme with dark gray banquettes and dark wooden chairs with seats covered in a lighter gray leather. Other chairs have the same dark gray leather as the banquettes and a light rattan back. The walls are covered with photos of life in southern India.
The dark wood bar with light wood and metal barstools and its column surrounds have been designed as a nod to small family-run, bistro-style restaurants found throughout Mumbai. They often have a haphazard feeling and the unplanned décor give the place a homey, casual family feel. The bar back glows and draws people into the space.
Foggy Bottom has a much larger kitchen than Cleveland Park. The open kitchen is much larger than at Cleveland Park. That, along with the location near a university and many office buildings, has led group executive chef Vikram Sunderam to expand the menu, which features savory snacks and kebabs with vegetarian options as well as pork, fish, chicken and beef street food dishes priced from $6-$15. Foggy Bottom “has all the dishes served uptown, plus a few more,” Sunderam told DC on Heels. With the GW campus all around and the World Bank and IMF across the street, he said Foggy Bottom caters to a different clientele of college students and office workers looking for a casual and fast meal. The menu “will allow them to grab something and go.”
New dishes include roadside sandwiches, such as the chicken farcha burger made with marinated chicken, malt vinegar, chili and curry leaves served on a pao bun with beet and tomato chutney alongside gunpowder fries (French fries dusted with chili and lentil powder); and wada pao, a patty made with seasonal vegetables, potatoes, mustard seeds and curry leaves served with pao bun with mint and cilantro chutney. There are also street karees (curries), including chicken curry with tomatoes, ginger and garlic, and vegetable curry with seasonal vegetables, garam masala, tomatoes and onions. Both are served with saffron rice. Other new dishes include kheema poa, a bun stuffed with spiced, minced lamb and green chilies; butternut squash uttapam served on a rice pancake and shrimp uttapam.
In addition to a selection of 50 wines by the bottle priced from $25-$80 and 10 by the glass including two on tap priced from $8-$14, the bar serves a variety of Indian beers and whiskey selections. There are also five all-new signature cocktails reflecting the spirits and spices of India priced at $12 each. Cocktails include the Fool’s Gold with saffron-infused Cotton & Reed Rum, house-made citrus soda, cardamom and mace; the Instant Dharam with sparkling wine, spiced tamarind and El Jimador tequila; Curried Away with Green Hat gin, egg white, ginger, tonic syrup and lemon; Green with Envy with One-Eight vodka, cucumber, basil, mint and jalapeño; and the Perfect Mumbai with Amrut dark rum and house-spiced vermouth.
Bindaas Foggy Bottom is open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Brunch is served weekends from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.