Vitals: 3309 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-244-6550. bindaasdc.com.
Neighborhood: Cleveland Park.
Description: Indian street food restaurant.
Ambiance: Sleek but quirky (graffiti art, mismatched tables) place to take a date or friends.
Previously: Part of Ardeo + Bardeo.
Owner: Ashok Bajaj (Knightsbridge Restaurant Group, including Rasika, Oval Room and 701).
Chef: Vikram Sunderam (Rasika, Rasika West End).
Open: Wednesday for dinner daily and weekend brunch.
The talent and owner may be the same, but don't think this is a clone of the super-popular Rasika. At most, you may see one or two dishes in common (yes to the potato-and-pea ragda patties, no to the fried-spinach palak chaat). Other than that, Bindaas is a whole new endeavor. "Rasika is a class of restaurant itself," owner Ashok Bajaj said.
Bindaas, which takes over some of the space formerly occupied by adjacent sibling Ardeo + Bardeo, focuses on street food. Sunderam said "the idea always was to project different regions" of India on the menu, which is broken into sections of chaat (savory snacks), kathi rolls and pao (wraps and buns), shashlik (kabobs), uttapam (rice pancakes) and naan (bread), as well as fish and vegetables. So you'll find a Goan pork sausage and pao (a kind of sandwich with a soft griddled roll, popular in Mumbai) filled with North Indian chicken (tikka masala) or South Indian lamb (roast masala). And for something with a whiff of America, there's always the bacon chili naan.
Bajaj said Bindaas is the kind of place to go "when you're not in the mood to eat curry," the dish synonymous with India that you won't find anywhere on the menu here. Count on about two dishes per person. Prices range from $4 to $15.
Bindaas will serve Indian beer and whiskey, plus 60 wines by the bottle and 18 by the glass. The four signature cocktails (plus two mocktails) include a chili-infused gin fizz.
Expect a totally different look from Ardeo + Bardeo, which remains slightly visible through some of Bindaas's decorative elements and the bar. Designed by Martin Vahtra of Projects Design Associates in New York, Bindaas features such flourishes as bright orange seating, jars of spices, murals of the restaurant name, a blue Vespa and the kind of art you might find on a delivery truck in India. There's also an open kitchen where you'll be able to see staff baking breads in the pizza oven and cooking at the griddle. The restaurant seats 35 in the dining room and nine at the bar.