So, taking Andrea Strong's advice in last evening's food blog discussion (nice to see some of you there), I stopped around the corner to Copper Chimney to poke my head in to see how its coming along.
I ran into Roger, the owner of both Copper Chimney and Pongol, who recognized me from the neighborhood (I live somewhere in between the two) and he invited me in to check it out.
The place is unlike any Indian restaurant in the neighborhood as far as interior is concerned, now that Kalyustian's Cafe is gone (now Rice), and the food, he said, will be a "cleaner" Indian food, but not strictly vegetarian like Pongol.
The kitchen and basement have been completely ripped out and redone. The kitchen is pretty big...bigger than Pongol's kitchen and differently laid out, according to the owner. I noticed two new tandoors just waiting to be used.
The upstairs has a lounge in the back with banquets (without dividers) on three walls. This space will be used as a lounge (bar upstairs) or for private parties. Additional seating in the front (facing 28th street) rounds out the second floor.
The colors are soft (light beiges and sea foam green) with the exception of the hardwood appointments and stone countertops (for the buffet and service areas) and the kitcsh factor is low although I am not totally sold on the "rainforest" wall covering in the front section of the second floor, but its okay. The woodwork in the bathrooms, and the bathrooms themselves (one downstairs, two upstairs) are very nice and completely new.
The food should be great, as those who laud Pongol should expect the same quality from Copper Chimney. I hope the service is better though.
At first I thought, why another Indian restaurant, but I think that this one will do what neither Cardamom tries to do and why Kalyustian's Cafe failed to be able to do - which was bring in a modern Indian restaurant with good food and a loyal following - conducive to 20 somethings and up.
According to Roger, they will be open next week, and I wouldn't doubt it...things seem to be moving fast. I just hate the slogan they have ("Tasty Indian Food").
Will report back on future developments...