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Feb 14, 2010 03:05 AM

Indian Food for Valentine's Day -- Raaga in Falls Church

The menu is very large for the special V-day buffet at Raaga, where we ate yesterday. The chef let us taste the sauce he is making for just one of the dishes, a "Seafood Malabar." The dish is a lovely, complex, coconut based sauce, and the chef is including several types of seafood. The menu is otherwise pretty extensive.

Chef used to work at the Bombay Club during the Clinton era, and is now part-owner of Raaga (which is a relatively new development).

So if you want to do something different today, go there. We might see you. (Just look for the person with the silly blissful look on her face).

PS, the chocolate covered strawberries he gave us to try were also very nice-- and I've never had them where the chocolate wasn't a little hard with some "crunch." This chocolate was high quality and soft, like a thin ganache.

In general, we are lately having the chef do "special" dishes that are off-menu. His latest spicy shrimp masala, and a shrimp pakora with (huge) shrimp, lightly battered and fried, then tempered with curry leaves and mustard seed were terrific. Also I'm crazy about this shrimp dish that he made for us a couple of times, and I don't know the name, but it seems something like this:

Raaga Restaurant
5872 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

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  1. Sounds terrific. Maybe you'd like to organize something for your fellow Chowhounds......

    3 Replies
      1. re: MoCoMe

        i'd be happy to pursue this with the chef, devising a nice, varied menu.

        i'll send an email to see how many are interested -- later in the spring.

        how much do your chow gang meals normally cost per person (tax and tip included)?

        1. re: alkapal

          i recognize that this chow lunch has been delayed, but hopefully we can do it this year.......

    1. We have been going regularly to Raaga for about the last two years. It has always been a very good experience. The atmosphere is nice, the service is good, and the food is very high quality. It is the best Indian I have tried in the area, along with Dheli Club in Clarendon.

      1. In the photos, find chef and his latest spicy shrimp masala with (huge) shrimp, lightly battered and fried, then tempered with curry leaves and mustard seed (off-menu). Simply delectable!

        Chef is not only very talented, but he's a great guy!

        Look at that shrimp! Now, you know why I rave about Raaga.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alkapal

          Looks great! I'm going to check this place out for lunch this week.

        2. Just got a sneak peak at their champagne brunch menu for valentine's day:
          vegetable koftas "manchurian" (cabbage and carrots, spices plus pan-glazed with garlic and tomato -- go figure the name)
          chicken tikka
          hariyali chicken (one of my favorites) (cilantro, mint, garlic paste on tandoori grilled chicken chunks).
          aachari chicken tikka (another chicken fave)
          basmati rice
          lamb biryani
          mix seafood masala (shrimp, scallops, salmon).
          chicken tikka masala
          kadai paneer
          aloo gobhi
          corn palak
          dal makhani
          fresh tandoori breads
          fresh fruit salad
          gulab jamun
          mango kulfi
          pistachio kulfi

          $19.95 with all you can eat and also champagne refills (menu doesn't say "all you can drink"). they open at 11:30-3 for the valentine's brunch.

          1 Reply
          1. re: alkapal

            the koftas "manchurian" were not so great. even chef acknowledged this. maybe his sous chef was responsible. ;-). anyhow, mr. alka enjoyed the lamb biryani, and i am still a sucker for the succulent chicken tikka. the seafood masala i would have preferred done in the chef's style with mustard seed, curry leaf and coconut milk. the corn palak was outstanding, the corn sweet and juicy, and the spinach nicely spiced. kulfis were -- as always -- silky and delicious. i liked the aachari chicken for its tang, but wanted the hariyali chicken to be more infused with the mint and coriander flavor. chef said it marinates overnight, but maybe i want perhaps some ground coriander added to intensify that flavor. i think i'm going to experiment with that dish at home, and use chicken thighs, too -- instead of the breast.

            the champagne was poured freely, may i add. we were just too focused on the food to want more than one or two flutes.

            photos will follow......

          2. I convinced my friends to go here on a birthday based on the reviews here. Not good at all. In fact, my indian friend said it was one of the worst indian food he's ever had. The only thing that was good at all (ironically it was actually extremely good) was the hariyali chicken. Had it with an order of garlic butter naan, which was pretty good as well. Perhaps we made bad orders, but everything else we had was lukewarm, over salted, and dry. I remember ordering the green pepper chicken, the tikka masala, the rogan josh, and the tomato soup. The green pepper chicken was basically chicken drenched in that generic "green sauce" they provide as a dipping sauce in the beginning. The rogan josh was too thick and way too heavy, felt like the whole thing was just one big block of cream. The tomato soup was just horrid. The chicken tikka masala tasted like it was drenched in canned tomato soup and cream, no real spice or anything. The desert (I forgot the name) was a thick ice cream custard with pistachios I think, and that was pretty decent, though I've had much better.

            Perhaps I need to befriend the chef before I have a decent experience here. Needless to say, however, I had to apologize to the birthday boy afterwards

            1 Reply
            1. re: takadi

              that is regrettable. our friends from india were quite pleased. did you try to order something particular that your friend desired that wasn't on the menu (not that one needs to do so, of course)?

              did you share your displeasure with management? how did they respond? i'm sure they'd like to have known how your first visit went. ctm is not a spicy dish, so perhaps you were expecting something that it is not supposed to be. just curious: what is your friend's india-regional background? what was he expecting in the way of the type of cuisine?

              by the way, the pistachio dessert is called "kulfi."
              what was the last restaurant in the area that you did like? what would you recommend ordering there?