Dish: Ashok Bajaj to Open His 7th D.C. Restaurant in September

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

BRING ON THE PASTA: The lease is signed, the design is created and the space has been cleared for Ashok Bajaj's next act: an Italian restaurant that will take the place of the late Luigino at 1100 New York Ave. NW.

Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca probably won't open its doors until September. "The economy is soft," but "I'm optimistic," Bajaj explains. The veteran restaurateur describes the 120-seat dining room as "reflective of the high style of Milan," with an abundance of "glass, chrome, wood and leather." Bibiana's bar seats will offer a glimpse of the kitchen through colored glass; two private dining rooms will offer space for parties.

Bajaj is known for his contemporary American and Indian restaurants. Why the change of accent? "Italian cuisine is the way I love to eat," he says. Plus, "there's a demand for good Italian restaurants in the city." Bibiana is a feminine name, chosen in part because "it sounds good to my ears."

Chefs looking for a change of venue, take note: Bajaj has yet to hire someone to head what will be his seventh kitchen in the city. "I'm looking all over the country and even abroad."

-- Tom Sietsema

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