Turmeric

Indian
$$$$ ($14 and under)
Turmeric photo
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Editorial Review

A new look with plenty of vindaloos and ahhs
By Tom Sietsema
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When the owners of Aditi Bistro decided to close their Indian restaurant in April, they replaced the Vienna outpost with a similar menu but a new billing: Turmeric.

“We’re giving it a fresh look and feel,” says proprietor Sri Suku of the 50-seat interior. The spicy name “has goodwill behind it.” Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and a potent anti-inflammatory agent -- medicinal properties that Suku wants to emphasize.

The entrepreneur graduated from George Mason University in 2006 with a fine arts degree, which he obviously put to use here. Save for the cooking aromas that perfume it, the deep-yellow dining room could pass for a smart gallery. The walls showcase Indian paintings wrought from carved (believe it or not) plastic foam, and a small bar has replaced a counter where Indian wraps were once rolled. Service is amiable, if sometimes off-pace: main courses showed up ahead of appetizers on a recent taste tour.

Like the design, the food is fetching. Sag paneer shows off bright green spinach; black lentils balance butter with garlic, cumin and curry leaves; and you can count on a pleasant shock if you order the vinegar- and chili-spiked vindaloo. A handful of dishes from Kerala (chicken in coconut gravy and malabar fish curry) reflect the restaurateur’s southern Indian heritage; the thick nan is reminiscent of the flatbread found in Afghan restaurants. For extra snap, throw in an order of lemon pickle.

While Suku’s family closed the first Aditi in Georgetown last year, the brand lives on with Aditi Indian Dining in Alexandria and two grocery stores, both named Aditi Spice Depot, in Herndon and Vienna. The last is just a few storefronts away from Turmeric, which is soon to be joined by a sibling on its strip: Crepe Amour. Yet another Suko creation, it will launch with a food truck, Crepe Love by Crepe Amour.