We can never go too long without spicy food. We just can’t get enough of those big, bold flavors with some ingredient that makes our eyes water while we chug down beer to salvage our taste buds for the next bite. Thai, Mexican, South Asian–takeout or at a restaurant. So it was strange when we were debating where to eat one night and we realized we hadn’t eaten Indian food in almost nine months. Enter a cure for our Indian food drought: Bindaas.
Bindaas is the street food concept from the Rasika team and chef Vikram Sunderam, located in half of the space that used to be Ardeo Bardeo in Cleveland Park (you can actually see Ardeo over a wall that now divides the two restaurants). The menu is divided into five sections, with most items in the chaat (savory snacks section). The rest consists of kathi rolls, some entrée items like kebabs, and breads.
We began the meal with a chaat item, the ragda pattice made of spicy potatoes, peas, chutney, and red onions. This is one of the few similar dishes at Bindaas and Rasika (there it’s called ragda patties).
This was really really good, much spicier than we anticipated, and probably my favorite dish of the bunch.
Next up we got the lamb kathi roll, which came with a spicy chutney and a little cucumber salad. The last kathi roll I had actually came wrapped in naan, this one was more of a tortilla. Nonetheless it was also very delicious.
Despite the allure of bacon chili naan—we decided on the spinach paneer one. The naan is really more like a poori bread, inflated with steam and some crispiness to it. Again—delicious—perfect for sopping up extra sauce from the ragda.
Since we hadn’t had Indian in so long and there were no curries on the menu (I needed some Indian comfort food!) for one of the larger plates we got the chooza kebab–chicken in makhani sauce—served over saffron rice. It fulfilled my craving for the much-beloved Indian butter chicken.
Last up we got the market fish, which happened to branzino that day. I don’t normally order fish at Indian food, but this time we thought, why not? Unfortunately it was quite bland, although it was cooked very well. There was supposed to be basically a spice rub on it, but it really didn’t taste like much.
It did, however, come with an amazing little roasted, spiced potato side. I could have eaten a whole dish of those potatoes.
The great thing about Bindaas is the price point. The four dishes + naan only set us back about $55, much cheaper than a dinner at Rasika, and for food that. while not necessarily on Rasika’s level, is delicious. I’d go for more of the chaat items next time and try the uttapam, rather than getting the larger items like the kebabs and fish.
Bindaas is located at 3309 Connecticut Avenue, NW in Cleveland Park. Although the website says walk-ins are always welcome, try and make one of the limited reservations they offer or you’ll be waiting 1 hour+ during prime time.