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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Vij's Is Coming! Vij's Is Coming!

Posted by on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 2:22 PM

People are CA-RAZY about the Indian food at Vij's in Vancouver, BC. Now the owners have signed a lease on a space at Republican and Terry in South Lake Union to open a sister restaurant called Shanik in November. (Shanik is the name of the daughter of Vij's cofounders Meeru Dhalwal, who cofounded Vij's with her husband, and Vikram Vij.)

Fnarf says, "OMG! OMG! The best restaurant in the universe is coming to Seattle!"

Press release with more details after the jump.

Shanik Restaurant to Open in South Lake Union
Award-winning Indian restaurant will be first in United States

SEATTLE, Wash. – May 10, 2012 – Diners in Vancouver BC have been hooked on Vij’s distinctive take on Indian cuisine since the restaurant opened in 1994. Now, instead of crossing the border for Meeru Dhawala’s and Vikram Vij’s great Indian food, Seattleites can enjoy the celebrated cuisine right here in South Lake Union at Shanik, a new restaurant that is set to open in November at 500 Terry Avenue (at the NE corner of Republican and Terry). Shanik will be open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday.

Vij’s co-owners Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij have been running their Vancouver restaurant since September 1994. “Our food philosophy has always been to keep our spices and cooking techniques Indian—from all regions of India—while using meats, seafood and produce that are locally available,” said Meeru Dhalwala. “To this end, I change our menu seasonally.”

Dhalwala was born in India and moved to Washington, DC at a young age. She has been managing the kitchen and creating virtually all recipes at Vij’s since 1995. Dhalwala works closely with her all-female kitchen staff—all of whom hail from villages in the Punjab, India—to experiment with various cooking techniques and spice to ingredients combinations.

Dhalwala and Oguz Istif, who is C.O.O. of Vij’s companies in Vancouver, will work together to bring Shanik to South Lake Union. Istif was born and raised in Turkey and began working for Vij’s in 2005. He later earned his MBA and Wine and Spirit Education Trust certificate. “Oguz and I share the same intense background for food and family, and we’ll work together to ensure that Shanik welcomes diners with emotional generosity and warmth of food and community,” said Dhalwala. “At the same time, Oguz’s expertise managing the front side of Shanik will allow me to focus on my art, which is cooking.”

The restaurant will also feature a separate market facility and will serve local beer and original cocktails under the direction of Mike Bernardo, Vij’s wine director. “Bernardo is a star cocktail creator and an expert in pairing wines with Indian meals,” said Dhalwala.

“We’re very excited to welcome such wonderful international flavor to South Lake Union,” said Ada M. Healey, vice president of real estate at Vulcan, Inc. “Anyone who has enjoyed Vij’s in British Columbia will be delighted to encounter their world-class food right in the heart of Seattle.”

In 2007, Dhalwala published “Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine.” The cookbook tells the story of the restaurant’s origins and includes many of Vij’s original recipes. The book won the 2007 Cuisine Canada Gold Award for Cookbook of the Year. It also won the Cordon D’Or Gold Ribbon for International Cookbook. In September 2010, Dhalwala penned a second cookbook, titled “Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey” about their family’s food culture and Indian meals at home. “Relax, Honey” won Silver at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris for best Indian cookbook. It was also featured as a top cookbook of the year in the New York Times.

 

Comments (21) RSS

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Fnarf 1
I may have to rethink my opposition to South Lake Union.

Sadly, one of the treats of going to Vij's is the presence of Vikram Vij himself, gladhanding his way around the room, possibly bearing extra treats from the kitchen to pass around. If he doesn't remember every face he sees, he sure does a good job of seeming to; the last time we were there he remembered we were from Seattle, even though it had been years.

If you don't think Indian food can change your life, you're in for a shock. This is not "plate o'glop with naan", as much as I love a good glop.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 10, 2012 at 2:32 PM · Report this
Bub 2
This development should please Charles Mudede. Seattle is becoming a little more like Vancouver, BC.
Posted by Bub on May 10, 2012 at 2:35 PM · Report this
3
Rangoli is Vij's much cheaper neighbor--no glad-handing Vikram has ever been spotted there by me--and it's just as delicious. The 2 cookbooks they did are also terrific.

I once had the odd, and wonderful, experience of watching them clean the kitchen after a dinner service. (We were finishing our last beverages, they laughed and said in no way were we interfering with their close, because it takes so long). Essentially, every shelf and rack in the kitchen is removed from the wall and boiled 'til clean, every night, they said. We witnessed a kid standing on the counter, removing shelves and cleaning the wall. It was more like a hospital than a restaurant kitchen, really remarkable to see the detail.

Posted by alight on May 10, 2012 at 2:42 PM · Report this
kid icarus 4
Sweet holy Moses!
Posted by kid icarus http://absintheandoranges.com/ on May 10, 2012 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Fnarf 5
@3, Rangoli also has the advantage of maybe getting a seat without waiting for two hours -- Vij's is really popular.

We made the mistake of going to Vij's on Valentine's Day one year, and sat in the bar, and sat, and sat, and by the time we were finally seated we were a little...tipsy, you could say. Well, OK, completely hammered. Still a good time! But yeah, expensive -- the first time we went, not long after they opened, the Canadian dollar was weak and the prices were cheaper than a glop restaurant -- heaven!
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 10, 2012 at 2:57 PM · Report this
biffp 6
Brilliant idea. Awesome news.
Posted by biffp on May 10, 2012 at 2:57 PM · Report this
r.chops 7
vij's is the best.
one of the top restaurant experiences of my life.

i second fnarf--part of the fun is being chatted up by vij himself, though. ever since the wife and i ate our way through the entire menu with vij cheering us on, he's never forgot us. even with years in between visits.

but even without vij present, i'll be headed to SLU for the lamb popsicles.
Posted by r.chops on May 10, 2012 at 2:58 PM · Report this
The Bug Chef 8
Hey Bethany-- I consulted with Meeru and Vikram a few years back to add an insect dish (Cricket Parantha) to their menu and was featured on ABC's Nightline. More recently they offered a cricket pizza to their diners. I love these guys and am delighted to hear that they will soon be a part of the Seattle scene. David George Gordon (author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook).
Posted by The Bug Chef http://www.davidgeorgegordon.com on May 10, 2012 at 3:22 PM · Report this
9
Kent got you beat.

The best Indian restaurant opened this week in Kent...Curry and Kabab.

Read my review:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/curry-and-kabab-…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 10, 2012 at 3:46 PM · Report this
10
@9, get the fuck out of here. The very best of the kind of place you're talking about - and yes, there are some wonderful ones and Kent's may be among them - has almost zero points of comparison with Vij's or Rangoli. Except, of course, to someone like you.
Posted by gloomy gus on May 10, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
icouldliveinhope 11
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Posted by icouldliveinhope on May 10, 2012 at 3:57 PM · Report this
r.chops 12
@8--
Hey, I ate that!
Posted by r.chops on May 10, 2012 at 4:09 PM · Report this
13
P.S. The Vancouver Sun article has more details. "Shanik will be “right smack in the middle” of the Vij’s and Rangoli restaurant concepts, she says."
http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/05/09…
Posted by gloomy gus on May 10, 2012 at 4:16 PM · Report this
Fnarf 14
@9, you got a review published in Yelp? You ARE supreme!
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 10, 2012 at 4:30 PM · Report this
15
Yes, Bailo. Your petty self-published "Yelp" review is nothing compared to the notoriety of being mentioned by the Food editor of a local pulp weekly as having once said a place was "the best." For shame!
Posted by j.lee on May 10, 2012 at 4:34 PM · Report this
16
Best dining experiences of my life have been at Vij's. A highlight? Being personally scolded by Vij when he walked by our table - "I called them POPSICLES' so white people wouldn't be afraid to pick them up with their fingers" - referring to the absolutely delicious lamb chop popsicles I was delicately eating with a knife and fork. Pure heaven and I am almost unhinged thinking about such fantastic food being available close by. Hopefully Vij will make the trip down to Seattle once and a while to charm/scold diners personally!
Posted by Sorry, Chris is taken http://www.facebook.com/ChristianOlson on May 10, 2012 at 4:49 PM · Report this
17
I'm going to inflict upon y'all something I learned from the first Vij's cookbook, which includes the lamb popsicle recipe. That sauce, that oh-so-delicious sauce, which serves 4, includes a quart of whipping cream.
I've been entertaining myself with imagining what "smack in the middle between the two" might mean. No freezer cases of take-out; also no very well-dressed 2-hour wait?
Posted by alight on May 10, 2012 at 6:06 PM · Report this
Fnarf 18
@17, yes, and most of the other recipes have the equivalent of a stick of butter in them. What's your point? Besides the one on top of your head that is.

If you think Rangoli is all about "freezer cases of takeout", or that you have to be well-dressed to eat at Vij's, or even that there's something shameful about being well-dressed, you are mistaken.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 10, 2012 at 8:46 PM · Report this
stinky 19
Anybody know what came of the several-years-old plans to move Vij's to Cambie?
Posted by stinky on May 10, 2012 at 9:51 PM · Report this
20
#10, 14, 15

Curry and Kabob is here now and open for business.

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/1/1676848/re…

And it's really that good!

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 10, 2012 at 10:22 PM · Report this
21
@20, I've never yet been to any of the restaurants discussed here, unfortunately, although I hope to visit each of them one of these days, including Curry & Kabab. If you haven't either, though, then maybe you should ponder what that means about the necessity of your posts to this thread...
Posted by aiff on December 3, 2012 at 10:25 PM · Report this

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