How to have an amazing date night in D.C. for $60 or less

Bollywood videos playing on a large flat-screen TV, the buzz of dozens of conversations, modern art and paintings on the walls, the smell of spices wafting from the open kitchen . . . Bindaas’s colorful Foggy Bottom outpost feels like a celebration before you’ve even reached your table. The menu is inspired by Indian street food, and this is not a place you’ll leave hungry: Even the snacks, such as the cumin-scented roasted sweet potatoes and the bowl of shrimp bezule, are enough for two to share, before you get to the savory lamb kathi roll or bao-style buns filled with lamb or vegetable stew. Couples probably want to avoid the communal table, but seating at or near the bar is actually more quiet than being in the heart of the action. (The newer Foggy Bottom location gets the nod over the original in Cleveland Park, thanks to more seats and a longer menu.) 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

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Washingtonian: The Best Rooftop Brunches for Every (Sunny!) Occassion

For under-the-radar space: Sababa and Bindaas
3309 Connecticut Ave., NW
Did you know that there's a small-yet-charming rooftop terrace on the Cleveland Park building that houses Sababa and Bindaas? Most people don't! You can order from either of Ashok Bajaj's restaurants up there, though tables have to pick one menu and can't mix-and-match dishes from the new modern-Israeli restaurant (Sababa) and Indian street food spot (Bindaas). Also note: the space is uncovered, so weather dependent.

2018 Washington Post Spring Dining Guide: For Indian Street Food, You Can't Beat Bindaas

There’s lots to like about the colorful Foggy Bottom extension of the Cleveland Park restaurant, starting with the fact that the new place is double the size. The extra room translates to a bigger adventure — an exhibition kitchen fronted with stools and a ceiling lit up with cane baskets — and a longer list of Indian street food snacks, including sliced smoked eggplant, onion and feta in a light wrap of roti, and a quartet of gingery lamb meatballs, dappled with a sauce of tomato and mace on a base of sunny saffron rice. At any given meal, the clientele, wedged into tables that are too small for everything they want to order, resembles a Benetton ad. (The World Bank is a neighbor.) The result is barely controlled chaos in what feels like a Mumbai market at prime time. Loud, in other words, but also a treat, especially if your passion is for steamed rice cakes and chicken curry, and there’s not a trip to India on the horizon.

(2 1/2 stars out of 4)

Washington Post: From the Rasika Team, a Lively Take on Indian Street Food

Task a four-star chef to make the street food of his homeland, and here’s what he hawks: savory pancakes topped with shrimp and mint chutney; lamb kebabs stuffed into warm flatbread; and fish ignited with chili paste and cooked in a banana leaf. Vikram Sunderam, recipient of a prestigious James Beard Award for his work at Rasika, is on another roll, this time with a collection of small plates. 

Two and a half stars (out of four)