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A Casual Counterpart to D.C.’s Karma Modern Indian Opens in Old Town

Kismet Modern Indian debuts with takeout service to start on Tuesday, November 2

A trio of handheld starters at Kismet are filled with puffed rice, date chutney, and green chili.
Kismet’s handheld pockets of jhaal muri are packed with puffed rice, date chutney, and green chili.
J. Sasu Photography/Kismet
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The team behind Bib Gourmand-designated Karma Modern Indian in Chinatown unveils an anticipated sibling location in Old Town Alexandria this week that introduces Indian street foods, lots of airy naan, and familiar favorites to its new waterfront neighborhood.

Kismet Modern Indian opens with takeout to start on Tuesday, November 2, at 4 p.m., with dine-in service kicking off Wednesday, November 10, across its industrial-chic digs (111 N. Pitt Street).

Like Karma, the new offshoot’s cuisine won’t be limited to one region of India. Karma chef and New Delhi native Ajay Kumar brings Old Town diners a new menu full of veggie, seafood, and meat dishes at Kismet, which means “destiny.”

Mains from a “journey continues” section include grilled snapper with peri-peri sauce; grilled lamb chops accompanied by diced potatoes with carom seeds; and saffron-infused vegetable korma. Starters from a “beginning” section include sweet potato with tamarind sauce; tandoori shrimp; and jhaal muri, Calcutta’s beloved street snack packs filled with puffed rice, date chutney, and green chili.

Some of Karma’s best-selling staples, like chicken tikka made with a blend of tandoori spices the kitchen grinds on-site, are imported to Old Town. As are Karma’s lamb seekh kebab, butter paneer, chicken curry, and popular sides like mint cucumber raita and palak paneer. Five types of flavorful, fluffy naan come slathered olive or garlic.

A vegetarian soup at Kismet with sweetcorn sauce and saffron.
Kismet’s seasonal vegetable korma with sweetcorn sauce and saffron.
J. Sasu Photography/Kismet

The 4,000-square-foot space lined with white quartz tables, earthy tones, and slick concrete flooring features a 30-seat courtyard patio out back.

“It’s not going to be fine dining where Karma is, but more ‘fun’ dining,” says co-founder and longtime Alexandria resident Sachin Mahajan, who has long wanted to open multiple restaurants. He also plans to replicate the dressier original in D.C. in other U.S. cities down the line.

An 18-seat bar area sends out seasonal cocktails like “Autumn Leaves” (Altos Reposado, pumpkin chai shrub, and honey) and an “Unusual Negroni” with Don q Anejo, Campari, and Noilly Prat vermouth. A largely local beer list is joined by wines from Italy and France.

Customers can place to-go orders via Uber Eats or Door Dash, or by calling the restaurant (703-567–4507). Starting November 10, Kismet will welcome diners on-site with the same menu for lunch and dinner from Wednesdays to Sundays.

A delicate coconut dessert at Kismet.
A desserts section at Kismet includes coconut medallions (pictured), pistachio kulfi, and rose ice cream.
J. Sasu Photography/Kismet
Kismet’s 4,000-square-foot location is accented with concrete flooring, glowing orbs hanging above, and a candlelit wall.
Kismet slides into a former Burger Fi space with a refreshed look from A-Line Architecture’s Anila Angeli.
J. Sasu Photography/Kismet