Food

Capitol Hill’s New Bombay Street Food Will Serve “Bipartisan” Dishes to Combat Congressional Bickering

Monsoon wedding curry: the solution to political divisions?
Bombay Street Food's thali for two. Photo by Scott Suchman

Just over six months after opening his first Bombay Street Food in Columbia Heights, restaurateur Asad Sheikh will open a second location on Barracks Row on Friday, June 21.

The two restaurants will serve more or less the same menu of Indian street foods beloved from Sheikh’s childhood in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Among the highlights: vada pav, a “Bombay burger” with mashed-then-fried potato patty and savory-sweet combo of chutneys, as well as Indo-Chinese fried cauliflower in a tangy-spicy glaze.

The new spot, which replaces Garrison, will likewise include a wide selection of curries and tandoor dishes. Sheikh has labeled some of his personal favorites on the menu as “Bipartisan On The Hill.” 

“None of them are agreeing to anything right now, Democrats and Republicans. At least I can have them agree to one thing,” Sheikh explains.

Among the dishes that can hopefully (maybe?) get an infrastructure bill passed: monsoon wedding curry with a choice of chicken, goat, or lamb. The spicy specialty made with black peppercorns, red chili, and coriander seeds is commonly served at wedding banquets in India during monsoon season. Apparently Sheikh thinks some heat is needed to get Congressional collaboration going because most of his top picks bring the fire, including the restaurant’s version of biryani.

The one dish, however, that everyone certainly can agree on is the supersized thali for two, which comes with six curries, tandoori chicken, yogurt raita, mango chutney, salty mango pickles, naan, and gulab jamun (syrupy doughnut holes). During lunch, diners can find a smaller thali available in meat or vegetarian versions. 

While the Columbia Heights location has plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, they’ll be separated into their own menu sections for Capitol Hill, making it easier for diners to identify. At the request of neighborhood parents, Sheikh is also adding a kids section, including cheesy naan and a smaller version of mild butter chicken. The restaurant aims to attract military from the nearby Marine Barracks with a 25-percent discount on specials such as chicken tikka masala and goat curry. 

Bombay Street Food will be open for lunch and dinner from the get-go with brunch beginning this weekend (11:30 AM to 3 PM). In addition to the normal menu, Saturday and Sunday specials will include anda bhurji, spiced scrambled eggs with ground chicken or vegetables accompanied by home fries. The dish will come with a complimentary bloody mary or mimosa.

Sheikh initially got into the restaurant industry as a Quiznos and Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owner and eventually built up a portfolio of Indian restaurants in the Virginia suburbs, including London Curry House, 1947, and Curry Mantra. He’s since sold those businesses to focus on his DC expansion, which will continue beyond Capitol Hill. Already, Sheikh says he’s negotiating on a space in Dupont Circle, and that’s just the start.

“I want to open at least four or five locations in every corner of DC—Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest,” Sheikh says. “I want to really dominate the street food version of Bombay.”

Bombay Street Food. 524 Eighth St., SE

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.