Anil Kumar, the former chef and owner of Saveur India, which developed a bit of a cult following during its six years on Wisconsin Avenue, is changing things up—just a bit—with Bethesda Curry Kitchen, his new restaurant in the former Victor’s pizza and pasta joint on 4860 Cordell Avenue.
Kumar, who said he closed Saveur India in April because of a rent increase, now has bigger, less expensive digs and a repainted sunny yellow space where he’ll be offering many of the same most popular dishes, such as lamb roganjosh and chicken tikka makhani.
But Bethesda Curry Kitchen will also serve an extensive lunch buffet, plus new Southern Indian vegan specialties like iddly (steamed rice cakes), medu vada (savory lentil donuts) and oothappam (thick lentil crepes). Kumar has also added some new vegetarian curries and a bunch of new appetizers, such as paneer kathi kabab (julienned paneer cheese rolled in roti and served with mint chutney).
Aside from a fresh coat of paint, Bethesda Curry Kitchen has an airy feel, with silver and beige chairs, light wood tables and photographs of Indian ingredients on the walls. Two handmade gold-colored Mughal-style chandeliers will also hang in the dining room, but the décor is spare and simple. The kitchen area is semi-open, with the chrome-enclosed tandoor oven right up front so diners can see it in action.
Kumar, who was a chef at Passage to India on Cordell Avenue for six years before opening Saveur India, said the close proximity of his new restaurant to his former place of employment should not be a problem. Passage to India is “luxury fine dining,” said Kumar. “This is casual.”
Bethesda Curry Kitchen plans to open sometime next week. Go to www.bethesdacurrykitchen.com to check for updates or call 301-656-0062.