Thursday night was the official reception for Ashok Bajaj’s new restaurant Rasika West End, the companion restaurant to its Penn Quarter counterpart. The new Rasika is located at the intersection of M Street and New Hampshire Avenue near Dupont Circle and its interior sports a different look. This Rasika boasts a sleek lounge vibe with turquoise cushions, muted lighting, hip seating, several booths shaped like pagodas, and its very own lending library in back. The space is surprisingly open and airy with a great many windows to let in natural light during the day.
Rasika has an impressive wine cellar and wine fridges as a sophisticated touch to the restaurant’s décor. There’s a new spin on cocktails, pairing gin and vodka with classic spices like saffron. Private rooms for special gatherings are comfortable with contemporary furnishings.
Rasika’s opening night was lively, with guests enjoying free drinks and appetizers, (sadly we did not get to sample any of the tantalizing curries or grilled dishes advertised under entrees in the menu,) as well as onetime access to the Rasika kitchen downstairs. The kitchen is efficiently outfitted with modern stainless steel appliances and an entire shelving unit devoted to the cardamom, star anise, and other spices that make Rasika’s menu so eye watering as well as mouth-watering. The stellar service was particularly impressive for a place that has just opened and is still training its staff.
The menu sticks to the same principles of the Penn Quarter version: Head Chef Vikram Sunderma’s classical take on Indian cuisine done to five star levels of perfection, but with certain differences. The barbeque section of the menu at the West End offers a greater array than its Penn Quarter counterpart with more options for kebab fans. For any fan of Indian food Rasika West End is a gem. The only problem will be finding a seat!
1177 22nd Street, NW