Rasam's in Sunnyvale
We tried Rasam's in Sunnyvale for the first time tonight. If future meals have this quality, we have a new winner among the higher-end Indian restaurants in Silicon Valley. They're on Murphy Street in downtown Sunnyvale across the street from Dishdash - http://rasams.com.
The menu has lots of dishes that we haven't tried before. We started with crab chatpata, an Indian-style crab cake with coconut cream, mustard, and fennel, topped with sprouts and a single long, tasty chive. This dish sounded a theme that would continue throughout the meal: complex spicing that still lets the high-quality ingredients shine through.
We thought the vegetarian entrees sounded even more interesting than the meat entrees, so we ordered two. The subz masala was perhaps the most familiar dish of the night except, rather significantly, for the choice of vegetables: sunchokes, snap peas, and mushrooms. What a delicious change of pace! The panch phoran baigan was quite new to us - a nice portion of baby eggplants with a fascinating sauce. I guess this is a traditional Bengali spice blend, but we get very few Bengali dishes around here so this was also a great change from the usual menu offerings. The two spices I recognized here were the visible ones: the curry leaves and some dried whole chills.
With all these new dishes we stuck to basic starches of rice (a saffron pulao, fantastically long-grain and delicious basmati) and plain naan - really plain, without the butter / ghee / oil that often garnishes it.
There's a full bar with cocktail choices but we stuck with the wines, and we were pleased with our glasses of Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc and Estancia Cabernet. There were some interesting wine on tap choices too.
All this great food is set in a couple of pretty rooms with some pleasant and helpful service. The candle goes out? No problem, it was quickly replaced without ever having to motion anyone or catch anyone's eye to take care of it.
What a promising new addition to the South Bay Indian restaurant scene! I hope future meals are as consistently excellent as this.