The Indian restaurateur who says he aspires to be the Ashok Bajaj of Northern Virginia is making good on his plan by introducing a spinoff to the colorful Curry Mantra in Fairfax City. Earlier today, Asad Sheikh signed a lease to take over a darkened Pita Wraps at 1077 West Broad St. in Falls Church. Mindful of the brand, he is calling the replacement, due in mid-January, Curry Mantra 2.
Smaller and more formal than the 125-seat original, the forthcoming dining room will have space for fewer than half that number of patrons. Curry Mantra 2 will further set itself apart with what Sheikh calls a “live,” or exhibition kitchen: “No glass ... you can go talk to the chefs,” says the restaurateur, who wonders why more Indian restaurants don’t put their kitchens on display. “There’s so much to see, know, learn about Indian cooking!”
He’s hired a chef from Bombay Dine Club in London, Khurshid Mohamad, to execute the menu, which will include some curries — okra with chicken, cauliflower with lamb — based on Sheikh’s mother’s recipes.
Even now, Sheikh is scouting possible locations for a third restaurant, which he’d like to launch in Vienna. The name is a given: Curry Mantra 3.