New Indian restaurant in Concord

It's traditional, it's fusion, and it's modern. It's Mod India, a new Indian restaurant in Concord Township located behind Hooters and Firewaters — on the side of the Clarion Hotel where GG's Italian Restaurant was located — 1110 Baltimore Pike, near Routes 1 and 202. And it's the second restaurant for Chadds Ford's Sudha Joshi, who also owns Rasa Indian Restaurant in Painters Crossing.

After operating Rasa for almost three years, Joshi had another idea. While Rasa serves traditional Indian cuisine, she wanted to try some fusion, mixing the traditional with the untraditional, preparing nontraditional foods, such as eggplant, but in the same manner as more traditional food, such as cauliflower. She calls that "tangy eggplant." But, at Mod India, fusion is also "traditional food cooked in a modern way," she said.

Indeed, the Mod in Mod India refers to the modern way of cooking and presenting food.

Another variation deals with a dish such as chicken tikka masala, a traditional Indian dish. At Mod India, you can order the tikka masala but also request a different protein.

"You don't have to have only the chicken. You can have chicken, but you can have lamb, goat, or shrimp," she said. A person may also order vegetables that way, Joshi added.

The presentation can also differ. In India, she explained, people often eat their food off of banana leaves instead of plates. At Mod India, some of the dishes are served on a banana leaf on a plate. Desserts, too, are served differently. How about ice cream served on wedges of orange peel? Even the décor has a comfortable fusion feel. It's a basic black and white interior but with a bold splash of red.

But the obvious question is why she would open a new restaurant in the middle of a pandemic. Rasa had been doing well, she said until the governor's order to close in-person dining in the spring.

"I was home doing some fusion cooking and thought that, in this area, people love Indian food, so why shouldn't I try a fusion restaurant," Joshi said.

She learned that the Concord location was available, saw it, and fell in love with the space. "I knew I could do more fusion here. So, I said, OK, let's try it."

Yet, it was still a tough decision to make. Joshi said the restaurant business is a tough one, even during normal times. The pandemic and governor's orders made it more challenging.

"But I had a dream to open the restaurant because of a promise to my grandfather…I was always very attached to him."

She said her love of cooking goes back to her paternal grandfather. He was a successful restauranteur in India, but he wanted to focus on his two young sons and their education after his wife died. He sold the restaurant but continued working there as an employee.

He would tell her that story as he taught her to cook, she said.

"He always had tears when he would tell me that story. He was very emotional. I promised him that when I had some money, I would open a restaurant for him. I'm sure somewhere he is looking and that gives me strength."

Mod India is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and 11:30 to 3 on the weekends. Dinner hours are 5-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They currently do not have a liquor license.

A sample menu and other information may be found on the website.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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