Raga, which I first told you about in April, is aiming for a Labor Day weekend opening. But when it does finally open, it will be without Hari Pulapaka on hand. Pulapaka, chef owner of the wonderful DeLand restaurant Cress, had initially been involved with Raga, which will occupy the second-floor space vacated by Antonio’s last year, as a menu consultant. He announced recently that he has stepped away from the project, at least for the time being. Pulapaka’s heritage is Indian — he grew up in Mumbai — but although the menu at Cress has hints of Indian inspirations, it is not an Indian restaurant.
Raga, whose still-in-development website describes it as a restaurant, bar and lounge, is endeavoring to serve authentic Indian food. There are a handful of Indian restaurants within a mile or so of Raga’s location, so expectations are that it will have to be good to compete with the more established restaurants like Memories of India and Passage to India.
A group of physicians from Leesburg and Orlando is behind the new restaurant, but the executive chef, Dominic Sarkar, is described as “well-trained and traveled in Indian cuisine.”
I’ll keep you posted on updates.