Rasa, a fresh take on Indian dining from rising hospitality duo Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman, started serving build-your-own rice bowls and kebab plates in a bright and airy setting two weeks ago.
The 2,300-square-foot eatery at the base of the F1rst building (1247 First Street SE) features swinging chairs, 360-degree views of every hue in the rainbow, nine huge panels painted by local artist Nandita Madan — who is also Rahman’s aunt and designer of Bombay Bistro — and various odes to Indian culture and cuisine sprinkled throughout.
Its menu of pre-set bowls come packed with chicken tikka, green jackfruit, or lamb kebabs, while a mix-and-match option allows diners to add in bases including tofu, cauliflower, and spiced beef. Drinks range from a whole coconut to a masala gin and tonic.
Read on to hear what customers are saying, just a few weeks in:
The Great Escape News: Yelper Austin G. says “the bright colored art, rainbow thread, pink boxes, and hanging basket chairs makes you forget you're in a fast casual restaurant. Instead, it allows you to escape into an exotic art gallery full of color.” [Yelp]
The Void-Filling News: Yelper Puloma D. says “Navy Yard was in desperate need of a good Indian food joint and Rasa is here to fill that void ... It is such a departure from the drab of most fast casual places; when you first enter you’re swept away into a colorful explosion.” Facebook user Joel Pallikal says “Rasa brings an option of food to navy yard and DC that it was desperately in need of. Between the colorful restaurant and amazing decor, the food itself is incredible!” [Yelp, Facebook]
The More, Please News: Yelper Iris S. says “My only wish is that I was served more delicious food! I only got three pieces of sweet potatoes tiki, not sure if that's the standard or not.” And Yelper Misha J. writes “my bf got spinach and his appeared to be just a tablespoon full, a bit disappointing.” [Yelp]
The Chipotle 2.0 News: Instagrammer @livingonthevegdc says “this Indian style fast casual may be my favorite take on a “chipotle style” meal. I filled my bowl with super grains, sweet potato, spinach, and basically allll their unlimited toppings.” [Instagram]
The Rare Eats News: Facebooker Nafessa Kassim says “there are so many unique options and that is the best part...you can mix and match to your liking! When was the last time you had jack fruit?!...It's not the average type Indian food that you get everywhere - there is a diversity of Indian flavors that we don't normally have as much access to.” [Facebook]
The Digging the Design News: Yelper Youn K. calls it “colorful, modern and very chic. The hanging chairs are adorable and I loved having a cute assortment of plants on my table.” And Parita P. says “the decor is bright and cheery. I can appreciate the flexibility of the seating. They have everything from individual to group seating.” [Yelp]
The Liquid Diet News: Yelper Christine N. “opted for the masala gin and tonic which was delicious! I have never tasted anything like it and will def be getting it again along with their coconut water for $5.” Yelper Shirley H. says “the mango lassi was also super delicious!” Yelper Neil C. says his “personal favorites were the homemade gin & tonic and the kulfi (ice cream) push pops.” [Yelp]
The Must-Try News: Facebooker Theresa Dipeppe “HIGHLY recommends the cookies, they are super unique and amazingly delicious! Facebooker Mark Ksiazewski says to “LEAVE ROOM for KulfiPop, a must, RasaCookies, even better. TikkaChance & OpenSesame were outstanding. Samosas were baked/lightly fried. Nice touch/not soggy.” [Facebook]