By Stefanie Gans
“My goal is to go big now,” says Asad Sheikh. The owner of the Curry Mantra chain of Indian restaurants is closing Curry Mantra 2 in Falls Church and Curry Mantra 3 in Vienna to open a bigger, more upscale restaurant in Rosslyn.
“It’s not that the business is bad,” says Sheikh, “it’s just that I can’t increase sales [in a] small unit, under 50 seatings.” According to Sheikh, the Curry Mantra 2 space is being sought out for either another Indian restaurant or a kabob place and Curry Mantra 3 will turn into Big Chicken, a Peruvian chicken shop. The last dinner service for both restaurants will be this Friday.
The original Curry Mantra in Fairfax and the newest concept, London Curry House, in Alexandria, will stay open.
Referencing the well-known, fine-dining Indian restaurants in Washington, Rasika and Bombay Club, Sheikh wants to take his next project in that direction. “In Virginia we don’t have anything like that, so I want to take it to the next level. My goal is to be high-end,” says Sheikh.
The 150-seat restaurant, to open early next year on Wilson Boulevard, will serve entrees in the $20-25 range, with service to match. Sheikh is still considering names, possibly Curry Mantra 2, or something a little more provocative: “In my head the name that was popping up was Kama Sutra,” says Sheikh. “A name should be the talk of the town.”