Chef Vikram Sunderam recently published a cookbook of his contemporary Indian recipes, but nothing can quite compare to the mastery coming out of his kitchens. Rasika continues to be the crown jewel of restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s fine-dining portfolio, with its richly spiced curries—including a robust lineup of vegetarian dishes—and spot-on service. Menus vary slightly between the warmly lit Penn Quarter original and its more modern-looking West End counterpart, but both share staples such as glazed black cod and palak chaat, a crispy-spinach salad with yogurt and tamarind sauce that has inspired many imitators. Expensive.
Also great: Crab-and-peppermasala; cauliflower and green peas; okra with dry mango powder; lamb chettinad; duck vindaloo; truffle naan; date-and-toffee pudding.