Rasika's palak chaat (crispy spinach)

It seems as though every food blog I read lately is down on D.C. Restaurant Week, the infamous period of prix-fixe specials ($20.12-$35.12) offered in and around the city (through Sunday).

Indeed, there are downsides: Many places offer only certain items or serve dishes that aren’t typically on the menu. And the extra foot traffic can create a crazy atmosphere. I can see why it might make sense to stay away, but positive experiences keep me coming back.

When I was in grad school, the promo gave my boyfriend and me the chance to enjoy a romantic meal at 1789 (1226 36th St. NW), a place I passed daily on my way to classes that was ordinarily WAY beyond my budget.

A Restaurant Week reservation once reunited me with old friends at Oya (777 9th St. NW), where we caught up over food that, to be honest, I can’t remember too clearly. The good conversation still sticks with me, though.

More recently, Restaurant Week gave me a time-sensitive, wallet-friendly reason to finally visit Rasika (633 D St. NW), where I tried Vikram Sunderam’s much-lauded palak chaat. It was a revelation, one of the rare moments in my life when I’ve said to myself, “So THIS is what all the hype is about.”

Like regular dining experiences, not all Restaurant Week meals are so momentous. But, for me, at least, they’re always memorable.