Washington, DC – Entrepreneurs from the Greater Washington DC area, Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman, officially joined the hospitality world in the festive month of December. With the grand opening of their first “Fine Fast Casual” Indian restaurant RASA in the vibrant Capitol Riverfront neighborhood (Navy Yard), the young duo made their high school dream come true.
“Bringing RASA to life is the realization of a childhood dream and an amazing opportunity for us to share our culture and cuisine with our community and city”, said Rahman. “Since we started, our vision has been to make Indian cuisine accessible, and we’re excited to open diners minds to new worlds offering unique, high-quality, and chef-driven meals at a $10 price point”, added Vinod.
The menu at RASA is broken down into four main categories including “We Got You,” “Sides + Sweets,” “Drinks,” and an innovative concept “You Got This.” The “We Got You” section is comprised of signature suggestions for diners crafted by the team for swift and easy ordering. It consists of 5 set bowls, including the “Tikka Chance on Me,” “Om My Goodness” and “Open Sesame,” which include chicken tikka, green jackfruit, and lamb kebabs respectively, as well as a Veggie Thali option.
The “You Got This” section stirs not only your appetite but also invigorates your thinking machine to build your own bowl. With “Build Your Base” choosing between greens or grains, including South Indian Rice Noodles, Basmati Rice, and Supergreens, you move on to “Pick a Main”. Here seven options are available, perfect for herbivores and carnivores alike, with a variety for vegans as well vegan options. From there, you can “Get Saucy” by selecting a sauce from the four options of Tamarind Chili, Tomato Garlic, Coconut Ginger, or Peanut Sesame, and then move on to “Add Veggies.” The hot veggie sides include Charred Eggplant, Tossed Green Beans, Sauteed Spinach, or Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Their toppings include unique and flavorful selections such as Mango Salsa, Dehydrated Bitter Melon, and Toasted Coconut Powder. To complete the fine fast casual experience, a selection of both chutneys and dressings are also available, including Mint Cilantro, Mango Coconut Yogurt, Tamarind Ginger, and Coriander Chili, just to highlight a few.
In the “Sides + Sweets,” section offers an inviting variety of sweet and savory side dishes and desserts including items such as Naan, Garlic Naan, Mini Samosas, and Kulfi Pops.
RASA’s “Drinks” offers a mouthwatering selection of thirst quenchers – from their signature Masala Chai, Mango Lassi, selections of housemade Juices to a Masala Gin + Tonic cocktail available on draft, as well as a selection of beers and wines.
Also notable is RASA’s 1000 degree brick oven, made in Maryland, used by the team as a tandoor, cooking fresh housemade naan breads, roasted vegetables and kebabs.
The young owners are no strangers to the industry. As sons of celebrated hospitality veterans and longtime business partners Chef K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman of Indique and Bombay Bistro, Rahul and Sahil grew up in their family’s vibrant restaurants, and were quite literally born into the hospitality industry. At a young age they realized that many people had preconceived notions about Indian cuisine, and began dreaming about ways to make the meals they grew up loving more accessible to a larger audience of diners.
“We didn’t realize that our sons had such a huge interest in a culinary profession but then we witnessed all of their hard work and dedication, their drive, and so they not only earned our approval, but we have invested in them and RASA and are thrilled to see this dream come to life for them”, said Surfy Rahman.
“We want to demystify Indian cuisine, and what others think of it”, added Chef K.N. Vinod, who was tapped by the duo to assist with RASA’s culinary creativity.
Nestling amongst a powerful line-up of other notable fast casual concepts, RASA on 2,300 square feet, opened on Wednesday December 6. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from 11:00AM to 10:00PM 7 days a week.