Nirvana, a new Indian restaurant that will occupy the high-traffic corner where the Spice Route operated for four years, will open Friday night, offering what owner Rohit Sharma calls “very authentic” Indian food.
“I’m really looking forward to people tasting the food,” he said. “It’s going to have a different kind of freshness to it and an authenticity.”
Sharma, who visited Vashon in February and dined at the Spice Route, recently purchased the business from the previous owners. It represents his first foray into restaurant ownership, he said, but he comes to it with considerable experience, having worked with his family at Indian restaurants they owned in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Sharma managed three of his family’s restaurants.
He said he has been hard at work remodeling the establishment, moving the brightly colored pillow room from the back and into the two front rooms. The darkened windows will disappear, he added. Many other changes are also in the works, he said.
“I want people to come inside and see the difference. I think it looks more Indian,” he said. “It looked before like an Italian restaurant disguised as an Indian restaurant.”
Two Indian restaurants precede his new venture; before Spice Route, the All India Café was located there. Asked how he’ll be able to succeed, he said he plans to focus on service, cleanliness and the quality of the food.
His chef, trained at a culinary institute in the city of Hyderabad, India, is talented, he added. He also hopes to slowly add some Western dishes with an Indian influence to his menu, providing more choices to Islanders.
What’s more, he noted, he’ll have the support of his parents, who are moving to Vashon to help him in his new effort.
“I’m pretty confident,” he said. “I have a strong family structure.”