The gist: This hotly anticipated restaurant from Suresh Sundas and Dante Datta (both formerly with Rasika) is now open at the corner of Maryland Avenue and H Street, NE, and the buzz has brought lines of people starting at the 5 pm seating and continuing all night long.
The food: Daru is inspired by the history, culture, and flavors of India. The menu has classic dishes like chicken tikka masala, paneer pesto korma, and wild mushroom biryani. But there are also several nontraditional “Indian-ish” takes, like desi guacamole served with naan chips and a roasted sweet potato and cauliflower salad. The bridge to India also extends to the bar, where spices and flavors transform cocktails, like the Hari Daiquiri which calls for rum, lime, mint, cilantro, and kefir—it’s a drink inspired by the taste of green chutney.
How to book: Via Tock
Daru’s inventive street snacks, entrees, and cocktails have captivated DC diners since its long-awaited August opening. Where else can you order jackfruit tacos, paneer pesto tikka, and black daal paired with burrata? Originally conceived primarily as a bar before the pandemic prompted the owners to expand the food menu, the restaurant boasts two Columbia Room veterans (co-owner Dante Datta and bar manager Tom Martinez), so don’t leave without pairing dishes with the cardamom- and amaro-laced Kali Kooler or a spin on the classic gin and tonic with coconut and lime leaf.