Daru in Washington DC takes Indian cuisine in a new direction

Suresh Sundas and Dante Datta’s new restaurant Daru uses ingredients and techniques gleaned from across the world, to break new ground with Indian cuisine.

The popularity of Indian cuisine across the world has grown steadily over the years, with chefs and culinary experts of Indian origin not only adapting traditional recipes to suit global palates but also exploring new ingredients and combinations. The menu at Daru in Washington DC, USA, owned and run by Suresh Sundas and Dante Datta, reflects this philosophy rather well.

Dante datta and suresh sundas daru washington dc
Dante Datta (left) and Suresh Sundas (right) first met when working together at Rasika West End nine years ago. Although plans to open Daru were announced in January 2019, the pandemic considerably delayed things and even prompted a switch in focus from bar to restaurant.

Chef Suresh Sundas is a keen believer in adopting ingredients and techniques from all over the world; an approach that has been in part inspired by his stint at Rasika, working with James Beard award-winning chef Vikram Sunderam. Seeking out ingredients that are beyond the usual scope of Indian food is a critical aspect of Sundas’ food philosophy. Dishes such as dal makhni on burrata, paneer cheese pesto tikka, jackfruit phulka tacos are a result of this approach.

Sundas and Datta met nine years ago while working together at Rasika West End. Their plans to open Daru were announced in January 2019 but with the pandemic striking, the launch was delayed considerably, even as they hosted pop-ups at various local venues. Although the duo had initially planned to open Daru as a bar, given the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, they realised that it needed to be more appealing to the entire family. Consequently, the food was given greater importance although the drinks weren’t left in the lurch either. Bar manager Tom Martinez had worked with Datta, himself an accomplished bar manager, at Columbia Room, considered one of the city’s top cocktail bars. The six cocktails on the opening menu, are a showcase of their unique take on combining elements. The hari daiquiri, for instance, uses flavours of the famous green chutney, and a syrup made from clarified kefir yoghurt, mint and cilantro.

With 40 seats indoors and 16 outside, Daru is open for dining in from Tuesdays through Saturday, with Sunday hours to follow soon.

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