Owner Ashok Bajaj has a way with restaurants. His raft of restaurants, from the Bombay Club to the Oval Room, win high marks from restaurant critics and the eating-out public. But Bajaj’s Rasika outshines them all, regularly rated as one of the city’s top 10 restaurants. Rasika’s West End sibling at 1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW, likewise achieves high marks.
Rasika is a sexy but unstuffy place, its decor a shimmer of glistening beads and fabrics. The lounge, to the left of the entrance, seems ever to be the domain of international sophisticates. At the back of the restaurant the open kitchen showcases the dance of chef and underlings as they prepare modern Indian dishes for what always is a full dining room.
The palaak chaat is everyone’s favorite, a simple dish of crisped spinach leaves served with a sweet yogurt sauce. Tandoori chicken or salmon, or red snapper prepared with almonds and saffron rice—it’s all good.
Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown on the Red, Green, and Yellow Lines (7th and F St. exit) or Navy Memorial-National Archives-Penn Quarter on the Yellow and Green Lines.