Remember the foodies? They were PSYCHED about Rasika. Our recent visit was very much like the first. Lots of oohs and ahhs, and classic one-liners that attempted to describe what it was we were tasting.
First, we all LOVED the wine J picked, a supersmooth Australian Shiraz. And we appreciate the diversity of the wine list (geographically and dolla-billz-wise).
We shared the palak chaat and ragda patties as appetizers--even though we'd had the palak chaat before, it was too good and funky to not share with these foodies.
We also tried the tawa baingan, a stacked eggplant/potato creation with peanut sauce. SO GOOD. We didn't realize it would be stacked up like blocks, and were imagining something mushier, more along the lines of baingan bartha.
For dinner we shared tandoori chicken tikka that was falling apart with tender goodness. Our vegetarian dish (and you should get one) was with butternut squash--it's not on the online menu right now, but it was awesome. It had a little bit of heat (not too much for my mild-loving buds), and F described it (to M's dismay) as "if butternut squash went on an African safari and contracted an exotic disease--in a good way." What she means is this: when you look at it, you think sweet mash of squash. You get something more interesting. Hence, "exotic disease."
Our lamb dish (the lamb rizala, with the funky gold leaf) was my favorite. The texture of the lamb was awesome--it wasn't a mush, but it wasn't tough or gamey. And the color contrast between the lamb and the sauce (when you cut it open) was as it should be, but often isn't elsewhere (as in, other restaurants, not other Rasika dishes). The sauce was so good that I consistently drowned my rice in it and savored each soaked bite like it was a decadent dessert.
Besides that, we shared a bread basket and some basmati rice. My overall impression this time around was GO WITH FRIENDS. You get to try more stuff. I know this is pretty much always true, but with a sharey or small-plate situation my enthusiasm for additional guests heightens.
I do have one complaint: the Rasika web site induces nausea. They should have a visible text-only option for customers to choose.
Scratch that, second complaint: more naan per order. I think naan (and probably) rice should be a default side situation, served family style. None of this separate ordering nonsense. Maybe someone has had a little too much takeout.
633 D Street NW
Metro: Red/Green/Yellow Lines to Gallery Place/Chinatown