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Sachin Mahajan and Ricky Singh will open Karma Modern Indian off Mount Vernon Square at 611 I St. NW this fall. The addition will help combat the dearth of modern, upscale Indian dining options in the District. To date restaurateur Ashok Bajaj has held a monopoly on the dining category with his restaurants Rasika, Rasika West End, Bombay Club, and Bindaas.
The owners’ vision is to serve contemporary Indian cuisine that highlights traditional fare but also incorporates influences from other cuisines, modern cooking techniques, and local, seasonal ingredients. North Indian cuisine will be the main focus, but Mahajan promises to serve some dishes from East and West India as well.
The menu will not be static. It will change throughout the year. “We can even offer some special dishes just for a week if the right ingredient is available for a short time,” Singh says.
Dishes span small plates and larger plates, all ideal for sharing with prices ranging from less than $10 for smaller plates all the way up to $30 for some of the larger ones. Mahajan and Singh are cognizant that Indian cuisine is popular with vegans and vegetarians and will offer a selection of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
Once construction of the 5,000-square-foot space is complete the restaurant will have floor to ceiling windows, a spacious bar, a 130-seat main dining room where an a la carte menu will be offered, and a private dining area where diners can order a tasting menu. Local design firm SWATCHROOM will be responsible for the look.
Karma Modern Indian hopes to compete with other restaurants by offering a modern setting and a cocktail program uncommon at most Indian restaurants. (Indique has a creative list of drinks that bartender Carlie Steiner consulted on).
Mahajan and Singhare both from New Delhi, where they also operate restaurants. The Indian city has seen an explosion in fine dining in the last decade, inspiring the owners to bring a concept to D.C. where they both currently live.
Karma Modern Indian will be open for lunch and dinner, and Mahajan and Singh hope that construction will be completed by the beginning of November so that they can open around Thanksgiving.
Karma Modern Indian, 611 I St. NW; karmamodernindian.com