Rasika serves exquisite modern Indian food (Chef Vikram Sunderam won the prestigious James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic region, in 2014) in an intimate, soft-lit, shimmering, champagne-hued setting, that’s frequented by a who’s who of the capital and the world beyond. Its specialties are griddle, open barbecue, tandoori, and regional dishes; the palak chaat (crisped spinach in a yogurt sauce), black cod with honey, homestyle lamb curry, and the tandoori salmon are among the most popular items. Intrigued? Better get out your calendar. You can dine in the bar/lounge without advanced reservations but that, too, is usually pretty full and the lounge seating too low for comfortable eating. Rasika has a sister in the West End, at 1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW (www.rasikarestaurant.com/westend; [tel] 202/466-2500), a larger location with a similar menu and just as popular as the Penn Quarter Rasika.
- Elise Hartman Ford