Rasika Owner Open Fast-Casual Indian Restaurant Bindaas Penn Quarter

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Bindaas Bowls & Rolls, a fast-casual Indian restaurant, opens in Penn Quarter. Photograph courtesy of Bindaas Bowls & Rolls

Modern Indian restaurant Rasika is a longtime favorite for downtown business lunches and dressy dinners (not to mention, it’s Angelina Jolie’s go-to restaurant in DC). Now, restaurateur Ashok Bajaj and James Beard-winning chef Vikram Sunderam are making a foray into fast-casual with Bindaas Bowls & Rolls, a 35-seat restaurant opening a block from their Penn Quarter flagship on Monday, April 18. The first 100 customers during opening week will have full proceeds from their checks donated to Penn Quarter neighbor José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen, which is currently providing food relief in both Ukraine and Madagascar. 

The composed chili-salmon bowl over lemony rice noodles with coconut moilee sauce. Photograph courtesy of Bindaas Bowls & Rolls

The all-day eatery is a spinoff of street food-centric Bindaas in Cleveland Park and Foggy Bottom—and the most casual addition to Bajaj’s upsacle restaurant empire. Dishes here—including some Bindaas cross-overs—are inspired by those Bajaj and Sunderam grew up eating in India: kathi rolls—homemade flatbread wraps—stuffed with the likes of chicken tikka masala; buttery pao buns for a ten-veggie-packed burger or Parsi-style Indian fried chicken sandwich; and snacks such as samosas and chili-cheese curry puffs. Diners will also find rotating specials, especially on weekends, like masala-spiced omelets. 

Fast-casual doesn’t mean skipping dessert, like this mango cheesecake. Photograph courtesy of Bindaas Bowls & Rolls

Of course, being a fast-casual, bowls abound—both customizable and composed. Diners can pick from set options like chili-salmon over lemony rice noodles in coconut moilee sauce or spiced lamb vindaloo meatballs over rice, or create their own entrees from a variety of base grains (curried quinoa, basmati rice), proteins–including paneer-kofta rolls or seasonal vegetables—and sauces. All come with tomato-cucumber-onion salad. 

For diners in an extra hurry, a grab-and-go hot case will hold freshly made bowls and sandwiches. But that doesn’t mean guests can’t linger over a Kingfisher beer, seasonal spiced cocktails, or sticky toffee pudding and chai come tea time. 

Bindaas Bowls & Rolls. 415 Seventh St., NW. Open daily 11 AM to 9 PM.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

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