SAY IT WITH A SMILE: "The world is getting meaner," says Jay Coldren, which is one reason the general manager of the forthcoming IndeBleu (707 G St. NW; 202-333-2538) is looking for servers who can make people feel "important and cared for and wonderful."
Though the restaurant isn't slated to open until mid-December in Penn Quarter, Coldren, an alumnus of the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va., has already tapped 10 people from hospitality-training programs in Europe to help distinguish IndeBleu's service from the competition's. Interviewing closer to home, he will be looking for personality rather than technical skills among would-be servers. "You can't teach kindness," he explains. "You can teach carrying plates."
IndeBleu is the latest concept from the Georgetown-based Enterprise Bleu, which invests in hospitality- and service-related businesses, including Studio Bleu in Sterling. Dance instructors from the studio will be brought into the restaurant to help the future staff work on "appearance, posture and style," says Coldren.
The menu, composed by chef Vikram Garg, a newcomer to Washington, is described as "contemporary cuisine infused with ideas from India" or French-Indian for short, says the general manager. A sneak peek finds cumin-scented scallops; a dosa (similar to a crepe or thin pancake) filled with wild mushroom, with blue-cheese gratin; tenderloin of veal with cardamom sauce; and fresh rosemary slipped inside naan, the Indian flatbread.
The interior will hold some surprises, too. Designed by Adamstein & Demetriou, the two-level restaurant includes a bar and lounge with a deejay booth, swinging C-shaped couches on the main floor and a 125-seat dining room upstairs. The kitchen will have a special rotating table, akin to a giant Lazy Susan; its occupants will start out facing the stairs, but with the turn of a crank, swivel around to eye the cooks. Diners, fasten your seat belts.