If you are looking for a excellent, Indian restaurant and fine dining experience, look no further. Having just opened its second location, Rasika is known for serving the best modern Indian food in DC. Nestled in the bustling area of Penn Quarter, this restaurant is a great place for a business lunch or a romantic dinner for two.
On this particular occasion, I was meeting someone there for a business lunch. We had reservations for 11:30 a.m. as there was no other time available before 1:30 p.m. I have found it very difficult to get reservations here without a week's notice so I'd recommend you make them as early as possible. That said, when we walked in, it was pretty empty as they had just opened. We were seated in the front near the windows where we could take in the beautiful sunlight from the spring day. We were immediately greeted by our waitress who took our drink order. Rasika offers a special fresh-squeezed juice every day, but, unfortunately, their fruit shipment had not come in this day so there wasn't any fresh juice. Instead, I started with the lemonade.
My dining companion had never been here and was not vegan so I asked if he would mind if we split a vegan appetizer. He happily obliged. So, we started with the Ragda Patties. The patty was made of spiced potatoes and chickpeas served over a chickpea sauce. It was a bit deceiving as it was called "ragda patties" yet there was only one patty. Seeing that half of it was covered in the tamarind date sauce and the other half in the mint chutney, I split is so we could try both sauces. It was so incredibly flavorful that it blew both of us away. It was soft, seasoned well, and the spices were intoxicating. Both sauces were delicious and I loved how they topped it with crunchy raw onions and cilantro. Yum x 10.
For my entree, I ordered two small plates instead of one large one. I also ordered some basmati rice, which, by the way, doesn't come with the dishes, and an order of Roti bread.
The first one I tried was the Bhindi Amchoor, which was sliced okra fried with dry mango powder and topped with tomato and cilantro. The okra was good, but not quite as flavorful as my other entree or appetizer. I'm glad I ordered small plates - it is a good way to try some dishes without committing to an entire meal of just one.
Next, I tried the Papeta Ringna Nu Shak, which was potatoes and Indian eggplant cooked with mustard seeds in a tomato sauce and topped with cilantro. Besides the delicately cooked potatoes and eggplant, I was most impressed with the fresh tomato sauce and the accompanying spices. This dish had a fresh, refreshing flavor as all of the ingredients meshed well together.
All of the food was absolutely delicious including the Roti, a whole wheat bread.
I really liked our server as well as she was very knowledgeable about the vegan items on the menu. The only thing I didn't like is when she came over to ask me if I wanted another lemonade and remarked that it would be an additional charge. It is such a classy place that the remark just seemed so petty. When one spends a considerable amount of money on the lunch, you'd think the least they could do is offer one complimentary refill, but even so remarking that it is additional seemed a bit chinsey. Putting that aside though, I think Rasika just went back to the top of my list of favorite restaurants in DC. It isn't number one, but it is definitely in the top 10. Highly recommended.
Read my previous review of Rasika from July 2011 here.
633 D Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004