Last night we returned to RASIKA (www.rasikarestaurant.com) in the Penn Quarter for a pre-theater dinner before seeing "Hamlet." We were concerned about filling up too much on a hot night before the 3+ hour show, but Rasika has the perfect pre-theater menu for $28.00 TOTAL not including tax and tip which is probably one of the best deals in town! and at the winner of this year's RAMMY (Restaurant Award) for Best NEW RESTAURANT!
There are 4 choices in the appetizer and entree category and 3 for dessert, so while this menu is a good deal, it might get boring after several visits, unless it is changed periodically. Will & I started with the MALAI CHICKEN TIKKA which comes with a green sauce of Coriander & Goat cheese along with the delicious moist grilled chicken pieces and the CALAMARI with CHILI & GARLIC, which packed a super punch, but not lingering, and was beautifully presented on a banana leaf and silver/bronze dish. We shared these two which were large enough portions to boot. While Will sipped the Indian beer, I enjoyed a crisp refreshing glass of HOFER 2005 GRUNER VELTLINER.
For the entree we both had the LAMB KESAIR KORMA which were moist tender and huge chunks (quite a large amount as well) of meat swimming in the wonderful yellow korma of coconut, saffron, cashew, mace and cardamom. A bed of rice made the most of the sauce which we mopped up with the wonderful NAAN and not as good ONION KULCHA (the onions were oddly raw). To boot, these breads are INCLUDED in the pre-theater, which are a la carte for the regular dinner! I tasted the moist TANDOORI SALMON (also on the fixed price) and the excellent TANDOORI GROUPER (a la carte) which were the same preparation using the same sauce from our chicken appetizer that was also great.
On top of this all you can have the most wonderful (and way too filling) dessert of CARROT PUDDING with Cinnamon Sabayon which is a huge disk of shredded cooked and sweetened carrots falling somewhere between a pudding and cake with golden raisins and cashews in a light sauce just for flavor. Our only complaint was that this really did fill us up and we all joked about how we would fall asleep so fast at the play! "To sleep or not to sleep? that is the question." For the most part, the play was good, and we managed to stay awake for the important parts, but knowing we would return to RASIKA again soon.
Incidentally our server was great and I also love the elongated flatware and impressive dishes!