The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2016 Fall Dining Guide as No. 9 on Tom’s Top 10.
Hard as I try, I can’t find an Indian restaurant in the country better than this one. A national treasure, Vikram Sunderam is a chef who never rests on his laurels and constantly refreshes his menu. Calling to me these days are roasted cumin-spiked corn cakes set on a brilliant red onion puree; Dover sole slathered in cilantro, mint and coconut and cooked in a banana leaf on the tawa (griddle); and ruddy chunks of lamb cloaked in a sauce that’s warm with cloves and hot with chilies. But even the chef’s oldies — crispy baby spinach (palak chaat), mango tart — remain goodies. Flattering the food are a gem-colored dining room and attention that bridges Secret Service watchfulness with Miss Manners’s decorum. The rare four-star establishment open for lunch as well as dinner, and offering a pre-theater menu for $35, Rasika will be even more accessible come next fall. That’s when Sunderam plans to share some of his secrets, in the form of a cookbook. I, for one, can’t wait to repeat some of Rasika’s magic tricks at home.
Rasika: 633 D St. NW. 202-637-1222. rasikarestaurant.com .
Prices: Mains $18-$30.
Sound check: 75 decibels / Must speak with raised voice.