Friday, February 13, 2009

Rasika: A lesson for other restaurants

We went to Rasika on Friday, February 13th as part of our traditional pre-trip night out. Our reservation was for 6:30...I arrived just a couple of minutes early and Michael was less than 5 minutes late. I checked in with the very courteous host when I arrived and was offered the chance to sit at the table, but declined since I knew Michael was just a few minutes away (looking for parking, as a matter of fact).

By the time Michael arrived, the offered table was no longer available. The host solicitiously asked if we had a time problem, like a movie or theater curtain, and was assured that we did not. We waited peacefully for a few minutes and the host returned, visibly embarrassed, to say that he thought it might be 15 minutes or so until our table was ready. Perhaps we would like to have a seat at the bar (there was a small table open) and have a drink on the house while we waited? Well, indeed we would. And we were most appreciative also.

We each ordered a blood orange margarita, which was delicious, and the waiter also brought a complementary small plate of papadums with some of Rasika's delightful dipping sauces. We were in no particular hurry and it seemed like only a few more minutes (in reality, it was close to 7) before the host returned, still apologetic, and said he had a table for us.

On the way over to the table, the host apologized yet again and said the restaurant wanted to buy us an appetizer in exchange for the inconvenience. We said that this really wasn't necessary, that the drink was enough, but he insisted. So we ordered an tandoori chicken appetizer from the friendly and professional server. It arrived very promptly along with an unasked for but extremely welcome serving of the crispy fried spinach which is one of Rasika's signatures! We felt, frankly, a little overwhelmed by the largess.

Having consumed the appetizers and finished our drinks, we joked about being satisfied and leaving with a free evening. But of course we each had a glass of wine and an appetizer (Michael's lamb rogan josh was as excellent as ever, while my fish curry seemed a bit too refined -- i.e. bland -- but I suppose the chef didn't want to overwhelm the delicate fish, and the texture was excellent).

Having just paid for two glasses of wine and two entrees, plus a generous tip, we left having had a very economical evening. We made sure to stop on the way out to thank the host again for his generosity. His actions took what might have been a minor annoyance and left us with extremely positive feelings toward Rasika and reminded us why it may be our favorite restaurant in DC.

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