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



Dino of Cleveland Park is described by its owners as "rustic" and "traditional with a twist." Whatever you call it, I like it.

For wine aficionados, unfortunately, Dino does not have a wine list. They have a wine BOOK! At least that's what they call it--it looked to me like an overstuffed clipboard. I mean that in a good way, because obviously they are keeping it fresh and always changing, adding, depending on what's hott and what's now. I like it.

From the moment we arrived I felt like Dino and I were meant to be--we arrived at 7 on a Saturday night with no reservation and were seated right away after we found a parking spot 15 feet from the door. It was in the stars, I tell you! We sat at one of those tall tables, which I find very comfortable, and were against a wall (nice and anchored).

It being Chanukah and all, J and I noshed on the croquette di patate, perfect little cylindrical logs of golden brown fried happiness with piping-hot moist potato within.

J's buffalo steak took us back to the good old days in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where some kind of wild game was our dinner every night (elk medallions, anyone?). Cooked to a perfect medium rare, the steak was juicy and tender and all the things it's supposed to be. After I finished my own food, it was only natural that I sample his purple potato and fontina gratin--it looked like a bruise, but tasted much better.

The halibut was perfect, and I ate every bit of my roasted eggplant risotto. While I enjoyed my meal very much, looking back at the stated ingredients, I can't say I really *felt* them all. That's not necessarily a bad thing, maybe they just worked and danced together unobtrusively...or maybe it lacked some zazz.

We didn't have dessert, but we did drink a bottle of wine. The list is accommodating to all wallets--the bottle we shared was only $21.

3435 Connecticut Ave NW
Metro: Cleveland Park

Dino on Urbanspoon


Hooked on Hook

I revisited Hook recently, a good idea--you may recall that my first visit was a lunch, during Restaurant Week, and not that long after this Georgetown eatery opened.

Off the bat: I could have spooned up the butter like ice cream and eaten it all, it was light and airy and extremely sweet. It may be filled with crack.

I started with the pumpkin risotto cakes on top of some sauce of pureed pumpkin. The look and texture of this dish reminded me of really crispy hash browns, in a good way! The pumpkin wasn't sweet the way you'd expect after pumpkin spice lattes and other dessert-like concoctions--the cakes were hot and savory, with delightful grilled onions topping them off, cooked to perfection. I could have had a couple more and called it a night. J noted that this appetizer was WAY better than my main dish at Restaurant 3.

J enjoyed the grilled calamari, but psst, my risotto cakes were better. The potato salad and calamari was an unexpected combination. The minty concoction on the side worked well with the calamari and was the most interesting part of the dish.

For my entree, the Sablefish was light and flaky, perfectly cooked, and well-seasoned. What i love about eating a great fish dish is it isn't too heavy and you can still have an appetizer and dessert, getting a real full meal at the restaurant and experiencing what they have to offer without feeling stuffed afterward and being rolled home. The accompaniments--roasted cauliflower was nice, and the roasted potatoes were...roasted potatoes. Fine but unnecessary.

J's mahi mahi with the butternut squash puree was---well, how was it? I know the butternut squash puree tasted good, but there was too much of it on the plate.

For dessert, a tart of paper-thin apple slices atop a buttery pastry crust with vanilla bean ice cream (I could SMELL the vanilla!) and the Tic Tac Toe--a TTT board of chocolate sauce with homemade whoopie pies and an X-shaped shortbread cookie. It was thoughtfully imagined and constructed, and certainly fun to eat. I couldn't watch it keep going by to all the other tables.

Hook is busy, and it's not that big--there seems to be an upstairs I've never been to, and a significant part of the main floor is taken up by the bar. The open floorplan (you can even see into the kitchen), cool colors, and oceanic decor makes it a comfortable space for enjoying a looong dinner. Our reservations were for 9pm, and we weren't seated until 9:25pm. Just an FYI.

3241 M Street NW
Metro: Your local bus, the Orange Line to Foggy Bottom, then walk to Georgetown, or take the Circulator from DC, or a Metro Connection (blue bus).