100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: Rasika and Rasika West End


Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj and chef Vikram Sunderam have been repeatedly solicited to bring Rasika to New York and other dining-destination cities. Though Bajaj has no plans to expand outside of DC—he prefers to make daily rounds to his eight restaurants—it’s a testament to how special the Indian restaurant remains ten years into existence, not only in Washington but also on a national stage. Sunderam, who garnered his first James Beard Award in 2014 for best chef in the Mid-Atlantic, continues to helm the kitchens of the Penn Quarter original and younger West End sibling with a consistency and creativity that are rare. (Picking between the two is mostly a preference of neighborhood, though we’re partial to the original’s recently refreshed design.) His menu mixes traditional tandoori meats and curries with such inventive creations as snapper over creamy coconut noodles or braised lobster in a dough-encrusted vessel. Knowledgeable sommeliers are quick to recommend spice-friendly wines.

Don’t miss: eggplant with peanut sauce; cauliflower bezule; mango shrimp; palak chaat; tuna chutneywala; braised lamb kashmiri; chicken tikka masala; goat-cheese kulcha; onion-sage naan.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

Don’t Miss a Great New Restaurant Again: Get Our Food Newsletter

Questions or comments? You can reach us on Twitter, via e-mail, or by contacting the author directly:
Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.