Rasika bills itself as the “flavors of India” and the glorious aroma when you enter tells you it serves just that. It is a large restaurant that was really busy at lunch. It offered prompt and efficient service as it appeared that a number of patrons were on an office lunch break. A portion of the kitchen is open and sits opposite the largest table which could accommodate a pretty big group. The other polished wood tables are nicely spaced and appointed with large cloth napkins. Faint music was in the background and the noise level was not too bad considering it was full. A wall of hanging crystals separate the bench seating of bar and dining room sides of the restaurant. The good sized menu offers vegetarian and non-vegetarian options as well as 2 tasting menus (4 and 6 courses) with optional wine pairings. The Chef’s Table tasting is 6 courses and basically gives you a nice sampling of their greatest hits. Our helpful waiter cautioned that it would take around 2 hours which was fine by us.
The tasting started with one of their really popular items (saw it served at a lot of tables) Palak Chaat. It is fried spinach tossed with sweet yogurt, tamarind, bits of tomato and date chutney. It was a bit greasy but the spinach stayed crispy and the dish offered a lot of fun texture enhanced with a tasty dressing. You could easily see why it is popular.
A common street food in India was next, Sev Batata Puri a crispy cracker topped with potatoes, raw mangoes, gram flour vermicelli and chutneys. It was a little spicy and very tasty. It was packed with flavor and offered a nice grouping of textures.
Karwari Scallop was served with red chili, tamarind and Karwari chutney. The bright red sauce tasted of char and covered a barely cooked large tender scallop. The scallop was delicious but I wasn’t sure I liked the combination of flavors.
The next course combined two items Mango Shrimp and Spicy Reshmi Kebab. The shrimp coating was made with mango, cashew nut and ginger and then cooked in a tandoor oven and served with mint and cilantro chutney. The shrimp was lightly cooked and delicious. It was good with the chutney and just by itself. The Spicy Reshmi Kebab was made of minced chicken, mint, coriander and green chili and also cooked in the tandoor oven. It was juicy and full of flavor and only mildly spicy. The chutney also worked with it. Both were plated with a salad of carrot and cucumber that was crisp and also nice with a bit of chutney. This was a plate full of flavor – a winner.
Black Cod was coated with fresh dill, honey, star anise and red wine vinegar and served on rice vermicelli also studded with dill. The dill and honey wash on the properly cooked cod was terrific. The dish was mildly spicy and wonderful. Another winner.
A selection of curries were the next course, all served in separate bowls with a plate of rice and a selection of breads. It was nice to serve them apart so you could appreciate the differences and then mix them as you desired. It was a nice size portion of each and although the textures were similar the tastes were quite different. Starting on the left, the Chicken Makhani was chicken with tomatoes and fenugreek leaves. The white meat pieces were dry but the dark meat held up well with the long cooked sauce. It was quite good. The Lamb Chettinad was made with coconut, stone flower, fennel and curry leaves. It tasted strongly of the fennel and while very nice was probably my least favorite. The Dal Makhani was made with lentils, tomatoes, garlic and fenugreek. The garlic really came through the well cooked velvety lentils. It was quite tasty. My favorite was the Vegetable Patia made with seasonal vegetables, tomato and jaggery. It was full of flavor and the vegetables worked together to produce an almost sweet and wonderful combination. The plate of rice also had Bhindi Amchoor which was sliced okra with dry mango powder. It had a bit of the okra slime still present but the sweet touch of the mango was a fun variation for this vegetable. The rice on the plate was seasoned but was mostly an absorber for the lovely sauces and the waiter offered more if we needed it. The selection of breads weas okay but it was hard to distinguish the Naan from the Mint Paratha and Onion and Sage ones. Their flavors were lost when dipped in the stronger dishes.
For dessert you got three of their offerings, which all came with cardamon ice cream. The ice cream, dusted with pistachio crumbles was creamy and nice. Gulab Jamun was the ball shaped one. It was like a cake donut that had been soaked in honey and then fried and then doused with more honey. It was my favorite and quite well done. The Apple Jalebi was called a beignet and was a light fried coating around a slice of apple. It was really crispy and sweet but the apple flavor was lost. However it was fun to eat. The Carrot Halwa was served on saffron sabayon and was quite moist but was my least favorite.