Do you love Indian food? Are you hungry right now? Stop reading, go to Chinatown, eat at Rasika, and then come back and read the rest of my nonsense later.
Welcome back! Isn't it gorgeous inside? At our recent trip to this modern twist on the never-boring (to me) Indian restaurant, J and I started with the Asparagus Uttapam. Uttapam has a pancake shape and texture, and usually the ingredients (like asparagus) are cooked right into the batter. It was fun to try, but next time I'd probably get something different with more flavor. Next was the Palak Chaat. Don't worry if you forget to write it down, I think the servers are trained to recommend it. It's basically flash fried spinach mixed with tamarind, sweet date chutney, and yogurt. It tastes similar to but better than french fries, and spinach definitely counts more as a "vegetable" than potatoes.
It turns out I wasn't man enough to take the spice on the Chicken Green Masala--without the heat it would have had a real cool, fresh taste from the mint that I would have enjoyed. That doesn't usually happen, but neither does the next part. My FAVORITE entree was the Lamb Dhansak, made with Dhansak masala, pumpkin, dill, and lentils. Dhansak masala is made with every spice and herb under the sun, along with ginger, garlic, and lentils--it just tasted like super good sauce, to me. The dishes were complemented by a white rice and long grain brown rice, respectively.
There were so many delicious-sounding (and looking) sides to choose from, but we went with the Palak Aloo Kofta (spinach, potato, fenugreek, and cumin). We were both pretty psyched that the potato mixture was sort of in a low mound hiding in the spinach, as opposed to being dispersed throughout the bowl. It was very flavorful, but next time I'd like to try something more daring--overall the vegetables are pretty tame, though. Maybe something with coconut next time. I love anything with eggplant (look for a "baigan" dish) but I had eaten too much of it during the week--effectively eggtplant-ed out.
Next time I may request that our naan come out with our main dishes--we ate it all with our appetizers and didn't have any left to soak up the delicious sauce from the lamb. We could have gotten more, I know, but how much naan must we eat?
Get dessert. If I hadn't stuffed myself at dinner I would have chosen the date and toffee pudding. I love dates. Still, I don't regret sharing the Chocolate Samosa, which was like a flaky pastry version of the savory favorite, filled with warm thick chocolate (sweet, not bitter at all). A little tricky to eat with a fork, but otherwise fantastic.
Dinner at Rasika lasted just over 2 hours for us speed-eaters, and was a perfect prelude to our movie at E Street Cinemas.
633 D Street NW
Metro: Red, Green, or Yellow line to Gallery Place/Chinatown