According to the Michelin guide, Karma Modern Indian in DC “is a far cry from your everyday curry house, as a great deal of care is taken to coax each dish with distinctive flavors.” So much so, that this year, it earned recognition as a Bib Gourmand restaurant. Soon, Northern Virginia diners won’t have to brave the city in order to try the cuisine of Ajay Kumar. According to co-founder Sachin Mahajan, his second restaurant with Ricky Singh, Kismet Modern Indian, will open soon in Old Town Alexandria. “Look for an opening date in October,” he says.
Why Alexandria? “I live in Alexandria personally and chef does, too,” Mahajan explains. He goes on to say that he’s seen a huge shift in the Alexandria dining scene, resulting in a city ready for its first upscale Indian restaurant. However, Kismet will not be as fancy as Karma. “We are opening the restaurant to cater to the neighborhood. It’s a step down from the formality that we have at Karma,” he says, but assures potential guests that it is “not a casual spot.” The restaurant is designed by A-Line Architecture’s Anila Angeli, totally remodeling a former Burgerfi location. The location near Gadsby’s Tavern is equipped with a private patio that can seat 30.
Mahajan says that approximately 80 percent of the food and drinks menus will be exclusive to Kismet. He prefers not to share specifics yet because menus are currently changing quickly. What he is willing to disclose is that staples like breads (think herb-and-cheese and wild-mushroom-and-truffle-oil naan), daal makhni, and palak paneer will make the trip from DC. “One thing I can say is that we don’t do biryani as a dish at Karma but I think we will do it as Kismet now,” Mahajan says. “We do branzino, but we will do a different style at Kismet.” He also says to expect unique preparations of lamb chops and prawns. Like Karma, Kismet will have a full bar, with a drinks program led by Christian Richardson that includes both cocktails and biodynamic wines.
“Karma currently is focused on fresh ingredients; that’s how we are able to maintain our Michelin recognition,” Mahan states. “Our chef wants to bring the same quality to Alexandria.” And we can expect it soon.
111 N. Pitt St., Alexandria
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