Rasika is part of the new-wave of Indian fusion that seems to be emerging in major US cities. Despite having an unbelievably irritating Web site that made me want to forego eating there (before realizing this would be a ridiculous reason to not visit a restaurant) the restaurant offers some pretty unique flavors in a stylist upscale environment.
Cost – $$$
Service – B-
I visited on a Friday night when they were probably slammed but for an upscale establishment, I felt like the staff was a bit frantic and frazzled. When I called at about 6PM I was told the earliest I could get a table in the main dining area was at about 10PM but I was told that I could get seating in the main bar area in about 30-40 minutes. I checked in with the hostess shortly after we got there and headed to the bar to get a drink. Strangely enough, I found it more difficult to get a drink at Rasika than most of the clubs I’ve been to on a Friday night and decided to forego the drink all together. I was then seated by one waiter before being told by the hostess and the manager that the table was already committed to another couple. After going back to the bar and failing to get the bartender’s attention I then decided to go sit and eat dinner at the bar towards the back of the restaurant. Again – not really bad service (in fact everyone was extremely polite and friendly) – it just seemed a little disorganized.
Food – A-
I dug the food at Rasika. The chef, Vikram Sunderam, has a reputation for practicing aggressive spicing and it was evident in the calamari. The tandoori chicken was actually a bit scaled back (as far as spice is concerned) but absolutely delicious. The presentation was pretty solid as well.
Decor – B
Solid but unspectacular. After reading the review of Rasika in USA Today I was expecting a bit more style and sexiness in the venue. In fact, I didn’t really notice much distinctive about the place although there is certainly nothing wrong with the decor.
Feel – B
I enjoyed my experience at Rasika but it didn’t live up to its hype in my opinion. The food was the best part of the experience for me and that shouldn’t be the case with a high-end restaurant like Rasika because quite frankly, there are loads of places to go if you are simply looking for good Indian food. Another factor I feel inclined to mention is the issue with eating at an Indian restaurant before going out. Much like with Korean barbecue, you are going to end up stinky inside and out. The scent of a place is often a neglected characteristic in most reviews but I’m going to factor it in. I have eaten at other Indian places that smelled a less pungent than Rasika. Overall it was a solid establishment and well worth a visit.
Cafe Japone is located at 633 D Street NW. They can be reached at (202) 637-1222.
What’s the Buzz:
December 20, 2005 – Rasika (DC Foodies) – I had a chance to stop by Rasika last Saturday. I love Indian food, and as soon as I heard that a new restaurant was opening, I had to go and see what it was like. I was also curious what Sebastian, the former wine and service director at Komi, was doing at an Indian restaurant of all places. It was only the second week that Rasika had been open, so I’ll try not to be too judgmental. Full article…