I am always on the prowl for new, cool, and interesting restaurants for my friends and I to try. While browsing Yelp, I stumbled upon Rasa. Sure, it is not a new restaurant (the restaurant opened in late 2014), but the reviews were great, and the menu intrigued me. I am usually very apprehensive with set menus, but the options offered for each course had at least one item that I knew would like. What I did not expect was to fall in love!
This is how the evening unfolded..
I chose to make a reservation for a Monday night because they have an amazing deal – discounted drinks, live music, and most importantly, a $35 tasting menu! And making a reservation was really easy to do online. Also, they are amazing at getting back to you if you need to make any changes. I needed to change the time and the size of the reservation, and they were incredibly accommodating and professional about my request. I knew it was not easy for them to work it out since Mondays are booked solid for them, but they worked their magic and accommodated myself and my guests.
The minute I walked in to the restaurant, I was enveloped by warmth, and the feeling that I had just stepped into a chalet. The space is not massive, but the seating is spread out between two sections separated by a wall. They also have bar stools – by the main window and by the kitchen. The furniture is also fantastic – very rustic.
The service during my first visit (yes, I have been twice in one month), was great. Our waitress was very friendly, patient, and there were no errors with our orders (I asked for no onions in my dishes, and she made sure there weren’t any). My friends tend to ask a lot of questions, and she was happy to answer even the ones I thought were silly (sorry friends). The 2nd time around however was not that great. Our waitress appeared agitated and eager to get us out of there. When questions were asked, she would sigh and then quickly provide the answer, and walk away. Also, though I asked for no onions, my main had onions in it.
The food is incredible! They always start you off with a small teaser. In this case we were given smoked salmon with yummy other stuff on top. Sorry, I inhaled it and did not think to ask what was on top. After the teaser we received the chopped salad. But this was no ordinary salad. I don’t know how they managed to mix so many ingredients, and yet not have them overpower each other. Each ingredient served a purpose and took the salad to a new dimension. All 6 of us agreed that this was the best salad we have ever had.
After our salad we got our appetizer. I chose the Po Boy, and holy shit, though not massive; damn did the flavors and textures explode in your mouth! And this was not plain ol’ Po Boy either:
- The bread was soft and buttered to perfection
- The shrimps were juicy, plump and not greasy
- The topping tasted and looked like a pesto with a zing
Several of my guests asked if they could get another one, but I reminded them that we still had our main to try. One friend ordered the wings, and though I did not think that the wings looked like anything special, she told me how looks were deceiving – and that these wings were incredible! And let me tell you, she is hard to please.
For the main I ordered the Bangkok Bowl. This dish changed my life. Just thinking about it now has me salivating. I loved this dish so much, that I ordered it again during my 2nd visit. And will order it for my 3rd. It’s that good! The vegetables and fruits are fresh, the calamari is tender and perfectly crispy. The tuna was slightly seared, and melted in your mouth. So far is the best thing I have eaten this year.
Several of my friends got the burger, and they wanted it super rare. So when they learned that the chef would be happy to cook (or sear) their burger just the way they wanted it – they were in heaven. Personally I like my cow to be dead before I eat it. But anyone that makes my friends happy, has my respect.
Though I was too busy living in a world that only I and a bowl filled with the most magical ingredients existed – I eventually asked my friends how they liked their mains, and their response was, “OMG, we have to come back! Everything was so good!”
Now for dessert. This sadly was the letdown of the night. Which surprised me since I have heard great things about their desserts. You don’t get a full dessert, but instead you get a piece of fudge. But you do have the option of paying $5 extra for their dessert of the day. On this particular evening, for $5 you could get a homemade donut, with matcha frosting and oreo ice cream. When it came out, it looked enticing – all shiny and warm. But sadly, the matcha definitely did not work! We even shared it to try to finish it. But after one bite, I refused to eat more. The fudge itself was fine. You have to keep in mind that we had an amazing set of savory courses, so the dessert had a lot to live up to. And well, it flopped.
My first experience at Rasa was incredible. Amazing service, food and ambiance had us eager to return. Unfortunately though, during my 2nd visit I noticed that the portions had become smaller, and that dishes were missing items that were present during the 1st visit. For example, during the first visit, the wings came with a slaw. During the 2nd, the wings appeared to have been dropped onto a white plate, and with nothing accompanying them. When it got to the table, I could not believe how utterly different and sad they looked in comparison to the 1st visit. And across the board, the dishes were smaller and offered less toppings and sides.
So, do I recommend Rasa? YES! Even though the portions were not consistent, and ingredients and toppings had changed or disappeared – at both visits, the food was incredible! In fact, I am very curious about what the 3rd visit will be like. And I am really excited about trying their brunch menu!
Thanks Rasa for the amazing meal and for the fantastic service!