Perched on an Arlington side street next to Eads Park, Kohinoor Dhaba feels like a home transformed into a restaurant. The two-story brick structure is unassuming, except for the signs advertising the all-day, all-you-can-eat buffet. The blare of a flat-screen television running Bollywood flicks and the easy tones of friendly conversation drift down as you walk up the well-worn carpeted steps to the second-floor dining room.
The small space holds a few tables and a buffet that runs along the back wall. If you want to sit down during the lunchtime rush, you might need to wait for a seat.
Chef-owner Kulvir Singh, a 34-year-old Arlington resident, drove cabs when he first moved to the States in 1993 from Punjab, India. Then his chef friend, Ramesh Kundal, took him under his wing and gave him a job in the kitchen at the now-closed Connaught Place in Fairfax. “He taught me everything,” says Singh, who ended up working at the Indian restaurant for a decade.
Singh opened Kohinoor Dhaba four years ago. “It wasn’t difficult to make the transition,” he says of becoming an owner in addition to being a chef. “Every job is difficult until you know how to do it.”