At this Burlingame spot, you will find a refashioned brighter interior, an added parklet, a new menu and name change, and owner Ajay Walia no longer greeting you in a sharp suit, but casual shirt and slacks.
In June, Walia closed his former Michelin-starred, fine-dining Rasa on this property, and morphed it into the second outpost of his Saffron (the original is in San Carlos). It was a difficult decision, he says, but one necessitated by the challenges of the pandemic.
Yet despite the transformation, Walia doesn’t believe anything is radically different.
“We’re still buying the same ingredients, and cooking with the same standards,” he says. “The only thing that has changed is people’s expectations.”
Indeed, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant last week to dine outside, I found the food as delightful as ever.
Yes, kale has made its way into chaat — and deliciously so — at Ritu.
With Ritu the word for “seasons” in Hindi, it’s no surprise that this hip Indian restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District changes up its menu, accordingly. In fact, it adheres to the six seasons recognized in India: spring, summer, monsoon, autumn, pre-winter and winter.
Since it was full-on summer when I was invited in as a guest recently, the menu was redolent of tomatoes, zucchini, corn and green beans. And of course, kale, because this “it” green still takes center stage in popularity.
Chef-Owner Rupam Bhagat graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and worked his way up to sous chef at various Ritz-Carlton Hotel properties, including the one in Half Moon Bay. In 2014, he started his Dum food truck, which is still going strong. In 2016, he opened his restaurant, first naming it Dum, then rebranding it this year as Ritu to distinguish it from his other venture.
Chef-Owner Rapam Bhagat.
It’s a long narrow space full of vibrant color that has an open kitchen, where you can watch Bhagat cooking your meal.