Bindaas: Paving the Way with Flavor

“If this is street food, I want to live on that street,” says my husband as we depart Bindaas. We’re giddy after a memorable meal, and probably the after-effects of “Green with Envy” cocktails. Bindaas, which is Hindi slang for cool and carefree, features a menu showcasing Indian street food.  DC restaurateur Ashok Bajaj and James Beard award-winning chef Vikram Sundaram ( Rasika and Rasika West End) dazzle diners by transforming traditional Indian ingredients into contemporary palate pleasers.  Bindaas opened last August in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of DC, taking over the space that was previously the Bardeo in Ardeo/Bardeo.   

Bindaas interior

The menu opens with a selection of chaat savory snacks.  Masala popcorn sprinkled with coriander, cumin, and curry leaf has us exclaiming “holy crap” at the get-go.  We munch on the addictive snack as we peruse the menu. Vegetarian and pescatarian dishes are plentiful at Bindaas, which prolongs decision-making for my husband. He’s not accustomed to such an expansive array of options.

Shisito peppers are deep fried, filled with potatoes and rice, and accompanied by pickled onion chutney. If you don’t mind the element of surprise – some are spicy, some not- these are not only delicious, but fun.

Conduct a Google search for Bindaas and even though the restaurant is relatively new, you’re bound to see numerous raves about avocado golgappa. These are light and airy puffed biscuits, infused with sweet yogurt and tamarind chutney. We are startled by the depth of flavor packed into the delicate orbs. Our server checks in, and is tickled by our unabashed delight.

bindaas avocado golgappa 2

 

It’s tempting to linger in the chaat section, but uttapam lies ahead. Rice pancakes studded with charred corn and red pepper are swiped into a pool of thick avocado sauce. It’s a marvelous next step.

Bindaas uttapam

Kathi rolls- an Indian version of a wrap – envelop pork, chicken, or lamb. Lamb kathi rolls are an assemblage of lamb, onion, and egg which take an eye-popping turn when dipped in the spicy chutney.

Bindaas lamb kathi roll

Chili salmon shashlik is more subtle in flavor, but its quiet complexity is appreciated amidst the steady stream of bolder flavors.

bindaas chili salmon

Prices at Bindaas offer a reprieve from the usual range at downtown DC restaurants.  Popcorn and naan at $2.50 is almost hard to believe, while most other dishes range from $6 to $14.  Seven dishes for two people is more than enough, but a few leftovers for lunch the next day is cause for celebration. The only quibble is the challenge that often accompanies a small plates menu. Dishes are delivered as they’re ready, and ours come out in rapid succession. I prefer more breathing room, so I can savor every bite.

A visit to Bindaas drives my first resolution of 2017- a pledge to return to the restaurant ASAP. And unlike that resolution to exercise more, this is one I’m sticking with.

 

Bindaas, 3309 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Washington Post review by Tom Sietsema: “From the Rasika team, a lively take on street food.”

Washingtonian review by Ann Limpert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016: The Leftovers

At the end of every year, most food writers and bloggers publish summaries: favorite chefs, restaurants, dishes, trends, events, etc.  I was planning to do the same.  But who needs another wrap up extolling the virtues of Pineapple and Pearls, Bad Saint, All Purpose, Tail Up Goat, Convivial, Hazel, Kinship, etc. etc.?  You can read […]

Community: Belonging in Bethesda

If I were asked to make a list of words that mean the most to me, community would be among them.  I’m someone to whom a sense of belonging matters, and being part of a community is vitally important to my well-being.  What’s also on my list of favorite words?  Restaurant.  Obviously. So when Community […]

The Dabney: A Tribute to the Mid-Atlantic

When I created Been There, Eaten That 6 1/2 years ago, it was because I had a deep and yes, obsessive love for DC dining. This is long before “Bon Appetit” names DC “Restaurant City of the Year.”  In fact, at the time only a handful of restaurants were considered destinations for a truly exceptional […]

Proof: Souped Up for Fall

As temperatures fall, restaurants are adapting their menus to reflect the season.  I am invigorated at the apples, sunchokes, sweet potatoes, squash, and brussels sprouts that are popping up everywhere in various shapes and forms. And while many are appalled by the proliferation of pumpkin-flavored everything, I am captivated by the smell and taste of the […]

Peru: Reaching the Top

It was a film at the 2015 AFI Latin American Film Festival that inspired my vacation in Peru. “Cooking Up a Tribute” is the story of the Roca brothers, owners of the famed El Celler de Can Roca in Spain. In 2014 they closed their restaurant for 5 weeks to seek gastronomic inspiration in three […]

Fighting for a Great Cause: Capital Food Fight

After Tuesday’s election, many of us were left reeling.  I spent much of Wednesday fighting back tears as I tried to concentrate on something other than the shocking results. And it was still with a heavy heart that I trudged downtown on Thursday night to the Ronald Reagan Building for the Capital Food Fight to benefit […]

Questions or comments?
Send an email to lorisue6@gmail.com