The Rasika Restaurant offers Indian cuisine two locations in Washington, D.C. I visited the West End Rasika restaurant at 1190 New Hampshire Ave, NW, Washington, DC 2003. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, and for dinner only on Saturday. Valet parking is available at dinner time.
The architecture of the Rasika restaurant is a spacious, glass-enclosed room with two levels. The lounge is on the bottom floor adjacent to the outdoor patio, and the main restaurant area is on the second level.
Meals are served at the lounge, but the tables are small and the chairs are uncomfortable because they cannot be placed close enough to the table due to their wide base.
People with reservations are usually seated in the dining room, and walk-ins are seated in the lounge.
From the moment that you get your appetizers, you realize that this is not a traditional Indian restaurant. The sweet potato samosas are filled with sweet potatoes flavored with ginger and green chili served on cranberry chutney. While delicious, the samosas look more like Chinese fried won-tons than the customary triangular-shaped samosas.
The Rasika papadum was a disappointment. The small crispy shapes looked and tasted more like Chex cereal than the usual round, plate-sized papadums. The coriander leaf chutney and the sweet tamarind chutney were good.
The grilled Grouper Nimboo was seasoned with a sauce of kaffir lime leaves, ginger and garlic. It was served with a spoonful of marinated carrot and cucumber cubes accompanied by lemon pickle.
The garlic naan bread was freshly baked and very good.
The Lamb Curry was a medium-spicy curry with ginger, garlic and tomatoes. The lamb chunks were large and very tender; they were definitely from a prime cut of lamb. The curry was served with a portion of white rice. On a previous visit this dish was called "Railway Lamb Curry", but it has been renamed as "Lamb Xacuti". This dish has remained delicious in spite of the name change. The sauce is mildly hot with bursts of flavor from cumin seeds and coriander leaves.
The service was good, and the overall taste experience was also good. I would definitely go back again just for that curry and the garlic naan bread.
Call the Rasika restaurant at 202-466-2500. Find more information about the restaurant at its web site: www.rasikarestaurant.com