Dazzling newcomer to upper Connecticut Avenue, Bindaas has taken over Bardeo and turned the space into a catchy Indian eatery. Crowds gather to feast on an array of Indian street foods that are beyond outstanding.
In a recent and clever move, local restaurant genius Ashok Bajaj, of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group, converted his Bardeo destination restaurant, the barroom twin of next-door restaurant, Ardeo, into the dazzling Indian destination, Bindaas. (Bardeo and Ardeo are now one entity.) Contemporary Indian wall art, overhead shelves loaded with Indian odds and ends, and comfy tables set the stage for your street-food splurge.
Street food at Bindaas does not mean loads of inexpensive hot dogs or other precooked vendor eats. Here, the term encompasses a collection of culturally accurate and beloved Indian dishes that vendors may sell on the streets in India, but the chefs have taken great pains to assemble the food properly. Take, for example, the bel puri, a plate of puffed rice stirred with raw mango pieces, mint leaves, and snips of coriander. You should order many different dishes, since almost every offering comes as a shareable offering.
The biggest challenge here, besides getting reservations, is knowing when to stop eating. Every dish sounds tempting since chef Vikram Sunderam, of Rasika in D.C.’s Penn Quarter, created all the recipes. (I would have loved to be at that tasting event!) But for those who are more restrained, be sure to order the pathar gosht (lamb with saffron and cashew sauce), the lamb kathi roll, the shrimp uttapam (a rice pancake), and the Goan pork bun with Kashmiri chile.
Desserts are limited and may change according to the kitchen’s whim, but should the ice cream pop up or the samosa filled with chocolate ganache be on the menu, snap them up. And do not pass up the various wines and cocktails served from the mini bar.
You may wish to spend the entire evening indulging in great food, or pass the day overeating at Saturday brunch, but chances are the crowds at the door will hurry you along. Maybe… only if you are paying attention. Even if you don’t realize it, Bindaas has become a restaurant celebrity with all parts of D.C.’s dining crowd, from millennials through all age brackets. After all, the word bindaas means “cool, independent, and carefree.”
What’s the score? For anyone who adores Indian eats, Bindaas is the destination. The food is perfectly prepared by the kitchen staff and thoughtfully served by well-trained staff. And for foodies looking for a unique menu in a clearly dramatic setting (just look at the wall decoration!), Bindaas satisfies on both counts. The main dilemma may be getting just the right time for reservations. Judging by the buzzing crowds, Bindaas works like a magnet, drawing folks in who crowd around the front entrance hoping for quick seating. With any luck, management may decide Bindaas should offer lunch, increasing the likelihood you can get easy seating. But don’t give up… it’s worth the wait. Really!