Rasika: First Impressions

As a guest at a media dinner last night at the new Rasika, I got to check out the gorgeous space and sample a broad range of dishes from menu, which offers authentic Indian dishes "with a modern flair." Owner Ashok Bajaj has recruited an impressive team, including chef Vikram Sunderam, who came from Bombay Brasserie in London, and sommelier Sebastian Zutant, who came from Komi.

Our meal started with fabulous palak chaat, a bowl of crispy fried spinach with sweet yogurt and tamarind date chutney. Tender black cod with star anise, dill and honey followed. Next came an array of dishes served family style: green chicken masala, lamb shank roganjosh, sliced okra with dry mango powder, stuffed potatoes with mint and coriander, creamy lentils and cucumber raita. All were fantastic. A fried apple round (apple jalebi) with ice cream and sweet carrot halwa topped off the meal.

Zutant, who has a new challenge in pairing wines with the bold, spicy flavors of Indian cooking, said he tasted more than 500 bottles to prepare his wine list, which showcases about 100 selections from around the world.

The space is sleek and sophisticated, its most striking feature being a glittering curtain of white and red crystals separating the bar and dining room. In the back, a long communal table faces a sushi bar-like counter, where griddle (tawa), barbecue (sigri) and tandoori cooking is showcased.

All in all, I was highly impressed and am looking forward to returning for a clove martini and some sigri and tawa dishes.