All Columns in Alphabetical Order

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Peachy's Picks Washington, D.C.: Rasika West End Starring James Beard Winning Executive Chef Vikram Sunderam of The Knightsbridge Restaurant Group by Ashok Bajaj Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins

Executive Chef Vikram Sunderam, 2014 James Beard Winner, Mid-Atlantic Region
The standout Black Cod with Fresh Dill, Honey, Cheddar, Star Anise and Peanut Quinoa
Fresh Origins is America’s leading producer of Microgreens and Edible Flowers. Combining the benefits of an ideal climate with a deep passion for quality and innovation, Fresh Origins products are sought after by the finest restaurants and top chefs. The farm is located in the picturesque rolling hills of San Diego County, where the near perfect weather allows for production and harvest all year. Fresh Origins produces almost 400 Microgreens, Petitegreens, Edible Flowers, Shoots, Tiny Veggies™ and related items. Many are not available anywhere else, with new introductions nearly every month. Fresh Origins products are on top of the finest cuisine in the world! Fresh Origins supplies distributors of specialty produce who serve fine dining restaurants and resorts nationwide. There are also a few online sources of their products available to private chefs and home cooks. Read our first Culinary Queen interview with Kelly Sasuga: 

For more information about Fresh Origins, visit their website at 

One of our favorite people across the board we've met in the course of doing Whom You Know since January 2009 is without a doubt Ashok Bajaj, who exemplifies the pursuit of excellence.   You want to know Ashok.  He is brilliant, he has vision, he executes, he's upbeat and friendly, his teams have immense respect for him, and you are 110% guaranteed to have a phenomenal experience at any of his restaurants even if he's not there.  But of course it is better to see him in person!  You probably will because he goes to every restaurant he owns every day.  He exudes happiness in his vocation.  Ashok is one of the most dedicated and driven people we've met.  His restaurant group has more depth than any other group in Washington, D.C. and this is his fifth review.  All the recognition he's earned is truly deserved and we continue to be immensely impressed-Zagat says Rasika is among the top 20 restaurants in the United States.  We still think he should open a Manhattan restaurant because he is better than most restaurateurs we've worked with here, and if he does, the bar will rise even higher in this competitive Manhattan food world.  On top of all this, Ashok Bajaj is a superb person with terrific character who always keeps his word.
Ashok Bajaj created The Knightsbridge Restaurant Group.
We first worked with him on 701:
Then Nopa:
And The Bombay Club:
and last summer, we visited Bibiana:
The order of them opening is:
1988: The Bombay Club
1991: 701
1994: Oval Room
1998: Ardeo
2001: Bardeo
2005: Rasika 
2009: Bibiana
2012: Rasika 
West End
2013: Nopa
We can't wait to see what he does next.  We almost feel like we are playing Monopoly when we review another Ashok restaurant.
This hand sculpture signifies prosperity:
There was once a time on Whom You Know when our cocktail was created and the Champagne Wishes column was 4 to 5 times the size of the restaurant column.  So, we appreciate the dedication Rasika has to fine wine:
Naturally you know who gravitated towards a robust Italian red.
We were seated in the library area, which we loved as Peachy has spent a lot of time in libraries in her life.  (Read This is our book review column.)  Best of all, there are no final exams at Rasika...but sometimes Peachy does bring a book to dinner.  The Valipolicella, Tommasi "Rafael" 2012 from Veneto, Italy was a delightful companion to the hit parade of edibles that followed.  Eating at Rasika West End is like Christmas morning opening presents except instead of presents you have food courses.
We enjoyed the fabulous water as well, necessary for the genetically weak palate Peachy has for spicy food.  Peachy's not Indian...
We began with the Palak Chaat, a wonderful mix of crispy baby spinach, yogurt, tamarind and date.  It was crunchy, warm, a bit sweet and possessed phenomenal texture.  This is your favorite dish that you haven't tried yet in life, if you haven't yet.  It was our green vegetable component part of the meal and much more exciting than a lot of salads we've had.
Even if you think you are not a big fan of Indian food, you will be once you go to Rasika (and The Bombay Club too we love it there!)
We must admit, Peachy Deegan is close to carbohydrates and both the truffle and garlic naan were splendidly warm and fresh and out of this world and off the scale on a taste level. 
 Each epitomized its intrinsic underlying flavor perfectly without overwhelming the naan and adding a warm fresh touch to each course.
For our appetizer, we selected the Spicy Reshmi Kebab.
It was spicy and it will clear your sinuses and it's appropriately neutralized by the fantastic sauce that accompanies it, which was liked just as much.  Composed of minced chicken, mint, coriander, green chilies, cilantro and yogurt, this was another enticing dish that is amazing to experience.  The zest and the tang will wow you!  And if the wow is too powerful, that green sauce is your ally.
For our entree, we chose the Black Cod with fresh dill, honey, cheddar, star anise, and peanut quinoa.  It's not spicy and boasts tremendous flavor!  This West End location is the one that has this cod dish, which is uber-popular.  You should know that the menus differ at each Rasika.
This fish was fresh and its flavor was exactly as creative as you'd want it to be, but you'd expect nothing less from a James Beard winner!  We particularly loved the dill and the cheddar notes throughout.  The menu changes seasonally at Rasika with specials offered throughout the year.  
Of course the desserts at Rasika have quite a bit of flair and style.
That chocolate on top reminds us of Peachy wearing an Ellen Christine Couture fascinator.
We chose the Coconut Bebinca-Coconut Mousse-Cherry Sauce, a Goan Specialty- 30 layered Coconut Nutmeg Cake!
Look close: see if you can count the thirty layers!  It was truly extraordinary and we basked in the superior finale to one of our favorite meals.  We learned Goa was a Portuguese colony, and this warm, moist delicacy is a bit like flan.
Cherry Blossom season in Washington can even be on your plate!
The Cherry Sauce was superb.
And if you're wondering how Ashok thinks, he also knows it's not who you know, it's Whom You Know.  Ashok was the opening manager of the Bombay Brasserie in London, where he won a James Beard award.  Vikram, the Executive Chef, also worked there...
A final note: you should make your reservation as early as possible; the average reservation is a month in advance.  If you live in Manhattan, it would be worth your while just to go down for dinner.
Peachy and Vikram

Peachy Picks Rasika West End!
Rasika West End is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

Back to TOP