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Aria Pizzeria & Bar (Formerly Aria Trattoria), In the Reagan Building at 13th and Pennsylvania NW, Federal Triangle - Closed September 30, 2014


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For several years now, I have read Tom Sietsema's restaurant reviews in earnest, taking exception with certain things, but generally in accord. However, his review of Aria has weakened the tongue of the glacier to the point of calving, and so I go, leaving in my wake offal of bergy bits and growlers in my beer hall putsch. He writes:

Hovering above your head, here and there, are hula-hoop-size rings of light that look like something out of a Vegas lounge. They're cheesy.

These "rings of light" so quickly dismissed as Vegas kitsch harbor a complexity lying outside the field of the Paris scope, reaching downward from the ceiling and serving to contract the angle of the diner's perceived azimuth down, down, down and away from the hard-featured grizzly white ceiling tiles, at once forming an amalgam of the central balustrade of the dining room's circular columns with the equally circular concavity buried in the courtyard outside, echoing the annular selvage of the Rios building, and expanding, expanding their wake into the four surrounding monuments, the circle of Fort Defenses, the Washington beltway, the Chesapeake watershed, the eastern seaboard, the western hemisphere, the earth itself, the exosphere, the elliptical orbit around the sun, the Milky Way, the periphery of the heliopause, our globular cluster, the spiral arms rimming our galaxy, the Local Group, the Virgo Supercluster, and perhaps even to the edge of the visible universe itself. I call on Tom Sietsema to resign as Washington Post Food Critic. It is time for someone who cares about our galaxy to step in and lend a more appropriate fashion aesthetic to our expanding nebula of restaurants. Did I mention that I hate stars? Rocks.

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Has anyone been back to Aria relatively recently? My husband's employer has booked it for their holiday party (last-minute substitution - it was originally booked at Ortanique), and I'm wondering if the food is worth trying to make small talk with scary strangers. :lol:

Edited by perrik
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Has anyone been back to Aria relatively recently? My husband's employer has booked it for their holiday party (last-minute substitution - it was originally booked at Ortanique), and I'm wondering if the food is worth trying to make small talk with scary strangers. :lol:

If a few months ago counts as recently, I've been to Aria recently. While I can emphatize with the holiday party situation (ours was originally booked at Ortanique as well, but was swithced to Sonoma - much better!), I would say avoid, avoid, avoid Aria.

I had overcooked fettucine with a flat, canned-tasting, uninspired meat ragu, and my co-worker had one of the most oily pizzas I have ever seen. Needless to say, we don't plan on returning.

Hopefully it's gotten better since then....

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Never let the intern pick the goodbye-lunch spot.

I just had lunch at Aria today. The steak on my salad was surpisingly good and nicely cooked. The rest of the salad, the service, and even the iced tea were abysmal.

It's such a shame that this nice of a setting, in such close proximity to so many potential business diners, has to be so bloody sub-par. I think they must have to try to make it bad--I know I would have to search long and hard to find people as vapid, unmotivated, and unhelpful as our host and server, and ingredients as insipid as those that made up my salad.

ETA: Oh, and this is the second entree I've ordered in the last week where the advertised bleu cheese has been MIA. Is there a shortage I don't know about???

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Wow, two years with no post. I guess I should try and steer my friends away from using this as a "pre-holiday-party" stop, huh?

I can't bring myself to go.

The last thing I heard about Aria Trattoria was at least a year ago: I met the chef of the Reagan Building (the second-largest government building in the world), and he seemed very proud that he was also going to take over Aria Trattoria - like it was another notch in his belt, but not a particularly daunting undertaking. That having been said, this was all just idle party chatter, and I have no idea what, if anything, ever came of it.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I was there before a show at the National Theater and concur on the general not goodness of the food. I do note that they do/did have an all you can eat dessert bar on Friday and Saturday evenings that might be OK if you have a real sweet tooth.

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