2012 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012
The kid brother is quickly catching up with the original. From the start, in March, I knew it was only a matter of time before Rasika West End became the hot Indian ticket that has long been Rasika in Penn Quarter. If I close my eyes in the new restaurant, attended to by chef Manish Tyagi, I could be dining across town. The Mumbai native's herby chicken kebab, peppery crab stacked on phyllo and smoky black lentils all pop with flavor. Open my eyes, and the turquoise booths in the shape of ceremonial carriages and raised “library" remind me that Rasika West End is no copycat but a design all its own. Not every dish sings. Lamb roganjosh is routine, and desserts could use a dash of imagination. But there's so much that's so compelling -- pass the asparagus pancakes and mint paratha, please -- that I almost welcome knowing what I can skip and still feast on one of the best menus in town.
Overall, we had a lovely meal and while the food was exceptional, there are both tame and bold flavors in the dishes to appeal to a mixed crowd. The ambience was modern and airy with careful attention to detail by the staff. Read more (with pictures) ...http://whatmickyeats.blogspot.com/2012/08/rasika-west-end.html
Live in the West End and have been trekking to Penn Qtr for years to enjoy Rasika.
The only thing they did "wrong" in the new location was to create such a small bar, which is nearly impossible to get into.
In the few visits thus far, we've also had clumsy service in the lounge. One time, the server firmly (e.g., rudely) told us we needed to talk to the hostess to sit in the lounge, at which point the hostess rolled her yes and said we should just go sit down.
Not a place where neighborhood folks are going to frequent -- and let's face it, we're not business one should turn away.
Friends in Charleston told us not to miss Rasika during our trip to Washington. I am glad that we took their advice. The atmosphere was calming, intimate and quiet enough to hold a conversation. Our waitress Luenne was perfect for first time diners. She made helpful suggestions and was warm and made us feel right at home. The only thing that was better than Luenne was the food. Every dish was cooked to perfection. The scallops were tender, the fried spinach was crisp and the duck was melt in your mouth tender. The owner came to our table and greeted us personally which was a nice touch. If you get the chance Rasika is well worth the wait for a reservation.
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