Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rasika....Indian Feast in DC

When I got chosen to dine out on the renown Rasika I was ridiculously excited. For those of you not familiar with the dining scene in DC, Rasika is an extremely popular restaurant. It's one of the top 10 restaurants to dine at (in DC) on several lists (ie the Washingtonian and Zagat) and the owner, Ashok Bajaj has an impressive resume-recently declared by the Washingtonian as Washington’s Restaurateur of the Year! Along with this awesome title he a slew of other awesome accomplishments/awards. Look at any review website and you will see Rasika with shining reviews. 
I called to make reservations the next morning and I was hit with a feeling of dread when they did not have ANY tables available for any time Saturday the 23. Panic started filling in, but I talked to the hostess on the phone and she said that if I came when it opened I had a good chance of sitting in the lounge, first come first serve style seating. I knew it was popular but not THAT popular-ignorance on my part I suppose. 
I was panicked because this dinner is a part of the foodbuzz 24x24...24 bloggers selected to participate in a meal in the same 24 hours...what if I couldn't get in the restaurant? Lili did not have any fears about not being able to sit and somewhat helped me stay level headed through the two weeks before we dined. 
When we got there I had Rommie jump out of the car to reserve us a seat while Lili and I parked. We walked in and for a moment I had a wave of panic hit me because I saw him seating in the waiting area. The host let us know that he had a quaint table by the window that we were welcome to that was reserved for a party at 7pm, so we had to be done by then. Figuring that we had 2 hours we jumped at the chance to sit there (better lighting for my photos!!!) At this point (~5:15ish) the lounge and bar were empty and they were not quite full when we left at 6:45. 
Once we were seated the server came to our table and I asked him about the popular items. He not only told us the dishes that Rasika was known for, but his favorites as well (which I liked-it shows that a server really knows the menu)

Hands down one of the most popular dishes from the restaurant is the Palak Chaat $10 Crispy baby spinach / sweet yogurt / tamarind / date chutney. Words can not explain how amazing this dish tasted. Everything from the textures to the flavors, managing to be both sweet and spicy, were amazing and I have never had anything quite like it. 
On recommendation of our server (said it was one of his favorite items on the menu) we decided to get the Lamb Kathi Roll $12 Tandoori lamb / roti / mint chutney. Another wonderful dish. The lamb was cooked perfectly and the minty chutney was one of the best versions I have ever had. I might have classed it up and had a spoonful or two separate from my dish ;)
For the third appetizer we decided on the Ragda Patties $8 Spiced potato / chick peas / tamarind date / mint chutney. This was delicious as well but not as stand out as the previous two. I did like the combination of the potatoes and the chickpeas. 
Somewhere around this time we decided on ordering drinks. Lili got an ice tea $2.50. Very orginal flavor-our waiter let us know it had something to do with the Star of Africa-however it tasted like cough syrup. Rommie ordered a King Fisher beer $6 thinking it was Indian-but the label said it was brewed in Boston or something along those lines-just your basic light beer. I ordered a cocktail-Hemingway's Cure $12 which was ok, it had a very strong alcoholic flavor to it.  
On the side we ordered a small Mango Chutney $2.50 and a Cucumber Raita $4. None of us were fans of the chutney, it was too cardamom (spice) heavy. However the raita was amazing and a hefty serving-I actually took the leftovers home. 
You can't eat Indian without Naan so we ordered one serving $3. It was one piece, enough for probably 2 people. It was just your typical naan.
Another "hands down" recommendation was the Black Cod $26 Fresh dill / honey / star anise / red wine vinegar. I was hesitant at first seeing as I am not a huge fan of fish, but after countless reviews read recommending this dish and the server solidifying them I am glad we ordered it. The fish was delicious-it literally melted in your mouth. There was not a overly fishy taste to it (one of the reasons I shy away from fish) and the seasonings were a perfect match-they perfectly complemented each other. 
Being one of R+L's favorite dishes, and one that I frequently order when I go to Indian restaurants we decided to do the Chicken Tikka Masala $17, description...National Dish of England. This was good, the flavors were more complex then your typical Tikka (in a good way!) but other then that it didn't stand out to me. 
For the last dish, I wanted to get something with lamb and the waiter recommended Lamb Roganjosh $18 Caramelized onions / tomato / garam masala. Another stand out dish. The lamb was perfectly cooked and the curry that came with it was amazing...another spoonful moment of happiness. 
Just to switch things up we ordered a small size of the Dal Makhani $6 Lentils / tomato / garlic / fenugreek. This was delicious, not being a huge lentils fan I loved this dish. 
Basmati Rice comes with the curries so they just put it in a bowl for us to share-again your typical basmati rice. It's also available to order on the menu. 
Even though we were thoroughly stuffed we decided to get two of their desserts...and boy am I glad they did. The first one that popped up was the Chocolate Samosa $9. This was delicious, the moment you cut into this, chocolate wonderfulness oozed out. Although delicious, this reminded me more of spanikopita then a samosa (in dessert form of course).
The next was Apple Jalebi (Beignet) with Cardamom Ice Cream $9. Another delicious choice (minus the cardamom ice cream of coursE). The fried apple slices were heaven. Even though we were all stuffed, we somehow managed to demolish both of these desserts. 
And of course what meal at an Indian restaurant is complete without a Mango Lassi $4. Rasika's version was delicious! I loved the fact that it was not watered down by being put in a glass full of ice. It was creamy, mango goodness in a glass. 
As proof of our happiness of the dishes, and a somewhat embarrassing admission of our gluttony here our the empty plates from our table. 
Rasika's food went above an beyond the high expectations that I had. The food was innovative, creative and original. Waitstaff was helpful and kind, not snooty like some tend to be at hot spots. I asked the our server several random questions about the dishes and he was able to answer them all without hesitation and with a genuine smile on his face. Some dishes were pricey but they were high quality and cooked well. My favorites were the Palak Chaat and the Lamb Roganjosh. 

Reservations can be very hard to come by, especially for a Friday/Saturday night- I would suggest planning far in advance if possible-I have heard that people make them 1-2 months in advance. If you don't have a reservation, plan on getting there early to get a seat at the bar or in the lounge. Definitely worth a visit if you are planning a trip to DC (just remember to plan ahead!)

On a slightly awkward side note, Rommie let us know that the men's urinals had ice in them...anyone know why this is?
I'd like to thank foodbuzz once again for sponsoring this amazing meal and letting me share it with all of you guys! 

633 D Street NW
Washington, DC
Rasika on Urbanspoon

This is also part of my To Do List for 2012 that I was able to cross off!!!!


  1. Congratulations on making the foodbuzz 24X24...again! I'm very envious! I hope you enjoyed the evening.

  2. I've never tried Indian food, but it sure looks divine!

  3. April, congrats on the Foodbuzz 24X24, so jealous. Every dish looks and incredible, sounds like you had a great evening!

  4. Awesome post ! Congrats on 24x24 !

  5. Nice post, I bookmark your blog because I found very good information on your blog, Thanks for sharing more informatiom