If anyone finds out where Anil Kumar landed, can they let us know?
Anil Kumar is now at Bethesda Curry Kitchen, right across the street from Grapeseed, which opened on Tuesday, February 11th.
On this very cold evening, the nearly empty restaurant seemed like an eternity away from Gringos & Mariachis, just a few blocks down Cordell Avenue, and which also opened on February 11th. I have no doubt that on this evening, Gringos & Mariachis was packed.
A liquor license is still a few weeks away, so for now, this restaurant is without alcohol. I started my dinner with a homemade Mango Lassi ($3.50) which reminded me that Kumar’s former restaurant, Saveur India, had some of the best Kulfi I’ve ever tried – Bethesda Curry Kitchen also has homemade Kulfi on their dessert menu.
Chef Kumar is from Hyderabad, a huge city in the South of India, and the south is very well-represented on the menu. The city of Coorg sits about 400 miles southwest of Hyderabad, nestled in the Western Ghats. When I go to India for the first time, my plan is to spend some time in Goa, but a detour to Coorg is also on the agenda.
Coorgi Chicken ($15.99) isn’t a dish you see very often in the DC area, but it was very well-executed here, and obviously long-cooked, containing 5-6 boneless, Halal thighs in a wonderful curry (the quality of this chicken was very high). Served with basmati rice, I also got a Mehti Paratha ($3.00) for the requisite sauce dunking.
On a frigid Saturday night, there was only one other family of four dining in this somewhat stark restaurant. “Until you get your liquor license, weekend dinners during the winter are going to break your heart,” I said to my server. I cannot think of an atmosphere that’s more different from Gringos & Mariachis than Bethesda Curry Kitchen, but both restaurants are initialized in Italic in the Dining Guide which speaks volumes about the potential quality of cooking here. Also just down Cordell Avenue from Passage To India, I don’t even see the two as competitors – one is a curry house; the other is fine dining.
Bethesda Curry Kitchen is going to survive, not by weekend dinners, but by delivery and lunch buffets. I walked past the empty buffet – which had the signs up – and noticed that my Coorgi Chicken was on it, so you can enjoy this exact same dish for lunch, with many others to accompany it, for less money. In fact, until they get their liquor license, a lunch buffet would be the perfect way to initiate yourselves with this fine newcomer.