The Indian street food-inspired restaurant opened earlier this month in the former Bardeo space.
Chef Vikram Sunderam is also behind D.C.'s critically-acclaimed Indian restaurants Rasika and Rasika West End, but this dressed-down offspring is much cheaper: Menu items like savory chaats, kebabs, wraps and buns, breads and pancakes run $4-$16.
Despite the discount, are D.C. diners biting? It already has 14 Yelp reviews with an overall rating of four stars. Read on for the early word on Bindaas, which translates to "cool" in Hindi slang:
The Independent Sibling News: Regardless of its famous parent, The Washington Post thinks Bindaas stands strong on its own: "The talent and owner may be the same, but don't think this is a clone of the super-popular Rasika. At most, you may see one or two dishes in common (yes to the potato-and-pea ragda patties, no to the fried-spinach palak chaat). Other than that, Bindaas is a whole new endeavor. " And Washingtonian says "one trait that makes Bindaas stand out from other Indian restaurants in Washington, including Bombay Club and Rasika: no curries." [WaPo, Washingtonian]
The 'It Tastes Like' News: Zagat writes, "Diners will find high-quality renditions of traditional street snacks, such as bhel puri, four flavors of uttapam, kebabs and other share plates," with a "Goan pork kathi roll that tastes a bit like an Indian sloppy joe." And Yelper Rory M. wishes he had "ordered two kulfi's" for dessert "since it tasted like fruit loops in milk!" Another Yelper Ali V. says, "The cocktails were great: the Silk Road tasted a bit like mango and a bit like a whiskey sour." [Zagat, Yelp]
The Naan News: Washingtonian says, "A variety of fresh naans make an appearance. We're tempted by the unconventional bacon-chili-cheese naan, though vegetarians shouldn't worry-meatless options exist in every section of the menu." Yelper Mythri K. wasn't blown away by the spinach/paneer naan: "It was good, but nothing special." [Washingtonian, Yelp]
The Well-Done Decor News: Washington City Paper observes, "The street art dotting the walls and the open kitchen combine to form Bajaj's most casual, young-feeling restaurant to date. Another fun touch: Jars containing the 27 spices used most frequently in the kitchen are displayed in the dining room." And BadWolf DC calls the new interior "welcoming and neighborly" with "bar top lights installed to create intimacy for the diner at the bar," and nods to Indian culture that add "color and humor" to the surroundings. PoPVille agrees: "New fabrics and paint colors add a punch of jewel tone color to the space," and "the overall outcome is a new contemporary interior that evokes elements of Indian culture without being cliché." [WCP, BadWolf DC, PoP]
The What's Missing News: While Brightest Young Things says Bindaas "should please the high end Indian food lover that doesn't always want to spend high end prices," that also means "you're not going to find heavy curries or typical Indian dishes at Bindaas. It's more about the basics at reasonable prices." And Yelper Vidyashankara I. listed a few areas where Bindaas falls short: It "lacks the creative menu of Rasika. Portions are small. A veggie Katti roll option would have been great." [BYT, Yelp]
The Healthy News: Brightest Young Things writes, "What we didn't expect is the lightness. We don't tend to associate street food with healthy, but the dishes at bindaas are. The rice pancake with sweet corn and the salmon kabob was great on a 90 degree day." [BYT]