After first announcing their move to Crystal City in September 2019, Rasa is finally planning to open this summer.
The D.C.-based, fast-casual Indian restaurant applied for a Virginia ABC permit to sell beer, wine and mixed drinks earlier this month, typically a prelude to an opening within a few months. A restaurant spokesperson confirms to ARLnow that the Rasa Crystal City location is, in fact, planning to start serving customers this summer.
We asked why the nearly year-long delay — the pandemic seems a likely culprit — but have yet to hear back as publication time.
While Crystal Drive’s row of restaurants have always been popular with the lunch-time crowd, that crowd has thinned during the pandemic. Still, new residential development and hopes of turning National Landing into a “vibrant 18-hour environment” raise the possibility of a more robust dinner crowd down the line.
Rasa was founded by locals Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman. There are currently two other restaurant locations, one in Navy Yard near Nationals Park and the other on K Street NW in the Mt. Vernon Triangle neighborhood that opened in August 2020.
The menu and design of Rasa’s Arlington location is expected to mirror the D.C. restaurants.
The menu is bowl-based, featuring punny names like “Caul Me Maybe” (which features tofu, cauliflower, peanut sesame sauce, rice, and spinach) and “Goa Your Own Way” (featuring spicy beef, coconut ginger sauce, green beans, and lentils).
The restaurants’ colorful interiors have basket swingsets, bookshelves stocked with titles by South Asian authors and paintings from local artist Nandita Madan (who happens to be co-founder Rahman’s aunt).
Photo courtesy of Rasa