Jump to content

Aladdin, Casual Bangladeshi on Lee Highway in North Arlington


Recommended Posts

I tried to go to this place a few weeks ago, but couldn't find it, so I re-doubled my efforts yesterday. I had spent a lovely morning with a friend and became quite hungry. I remembered I wanted to try here and was in the mood for something spicy and warm, due to the recent cold weather. On a side note, it's going to go down to 7 degrees tomorrow. I thought there was a reason I left Michigan. Oh, yeah, in my hometown it is going to be a high of -5.

Anyway, this place is not hard to find if you know how to use a map. But, the problem is that they don't have a sign up yet (other than the poster in the window), so I missed it. It's in the Bangladeshi strip, where there are grocers and Gharer Khabar is. I parked in the back (the strip is mall is packed with cars, and it's kind of a pain exiting/entering, so maybe try the back.

It's a simple place, looks sort of like a cafeteria. It smells good in there. There were two couples in there eating delicious looking curries and biryanis. I was eating alone, so I was a bit limited in what I could order. What immediately caught my eye was the 'kaachi biryani'. It is a biryani dish where the rice and meat are cooked raw together and layered with other ingredients (the spices, vegetables, yogurt). However, it is a special order dish and only available on Saturdays, if you call four hours in advance. I asked him details and if there was any left over that I could have, but he said that due to the weather, they couldn't get some of the suppliers to bring what they needed so it just wasn't available today.

They have many curries (chicken, shrimp, lamb, goat). They have many biryanis. They have typical north Indian dishes (CTM, a few vegetarian dishes). The prices are lowish. I ordered the 'halim', which is stewed lentils with some pieces of goat and spicy. It is supposedly a weekend breakfast/brunch treat. He gave a lime and some chilis on the side with no instructions. It was spiced well, but I threw in some lime juice and a few cuts of the chili. It got fiery. I liked the taste. It's like dal makhni on steroids, much richer and less cream based, with a few small fatty cuts of goat. I could eat a large bowl of that a winter afternoon any time. The portion was smallish, but it also only costed $5.

Then, I got the goat curry made extra spicy. It was served with basmati rice. This was bar none the best goat curry I have ever had. I have some reference, as I have had it at maybe 8 or 9 other places. It was rich, the coloring was perfect - dark deep brown. There were a lot of pieces of goat, some on bone and some off bone. It brought the heat. I absolutely loved the dish.

The total with a Diet Coke was $17.67 and I saved exactly half for my lovely friend for her dinner tonight.

I have to go again and try the seafood dishes, and call ahead for the Saturday dish. The young an that was serving and also the cashier was delightful to chat with, he just moved from Bangladesh 3 months ago, and it is his family friends that have hired him. They used to be located in Rockville, but said with the growth of the Bangla population on this strip of Lee Highway, it made sense to go. He very much suggested coming on Sunday, where there is "brunch buffet" with many dishes for just $8. $8, I had to have him repeat it to me. 10am - 5.30pm. The food is very delicious and authentic. I hope the owner works on the decor. With a little work, it could become Virginia destination dining like Bangkok Golden (my lunch treat for today).

Probably a great spot for a group gathering. I'm curious to hear what the Don has to say about this. Tyler Cowen has spoken already. There is just one review on Yelp and it is about butter chicken. (Picture me as the guy in Sideways, "I'm not ordering the f-ckin' butter chicken!")

Pic 1 is the halim, pic 2 is the goat curry, pic 3 is leftovers in a cute box.

Simul

post-9113-0-39455600-1388937672_thumb.jp

post-9113-0-11799000-1388937693_thumb.jp

post-9113-0-62782200-1388937705_thumb.jp

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the most uniquely Bangladeshi dish they offer, perhaps besides the kaachi biryani, is shutki mach, which is a curry made from dried fish. When we went it was the *only* item written out only in Bengali on the menu. It has a very pungent aroma and taste and most Bengalis I've encountered don't believe westerners can tolerate it. To give you a sense, when my Bangladeshi mother in law went in to order some, the owner eyed me, asked her if she was going to get in a car with me, then wrapped the takeout container holding the shutki with about five extra layers of plastic wrap. Personally I love it but find it's best in small doses and more as a condiment than a main course.

If anyone is interested I'd be happy to organize a dinner here (and perhaps could bring my MIL to help us navigate the offerings).

Edit: my wife informs me I've mixed up the two Bangladeshi restaurants in this complex and that the shutki comes from the other one, Gharer Khabar. Either way, my offer still stands.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If anyone is interested I'd be happy to organize a dinner here (and perhaps could bring my MIL to help us navigate the offerings).

Edit: my wife informs me I've mixed up the two Bangladeshi restaurants in this complex and that the shutki comes from the other one, Gharer Khabar. Either way, my offer still stands.

Dan, you won't get a huge crowd, but I think this is a wonderful idea that will draw some attention to a formerly decrepit shopping center that has become intriguing. Has anyone noticed the grocery store that just opened there?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the most uniquely Bangladeshi dish they offer, perhaps besides the kaachi biryani, is shutki mach, which is a curry made from dried fish. When we went it was the *only* item written out only in Bengali on the menu. It has a very pungent aroma and taste and most Bengalis I've encountered don't believe westerners can tolerate it.

I avoided shutki maach like the plague all through my childhood, only to have it forced on me on a trip to a village in the middle of the Bangladeshi jungle some years ago. The odor and taste certainly take some getting used to... and I never have.

Now if they start serving paturi, I'll be on the next plane over...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the most uniquely Bangladeshi dish they offer, perhaps besides the kaachi biryani, is shutki mach, which is a curry made from dried fish. When we went it was the *only* item written out only in Bengali on the menu. It has a very pungent aroma and taste and most Bengalis I've encountered don't believe westerners can tolerate it. To give you a sense, when my Bangladeshi mother in law went in to order some, the owner eyed me, asked her if she was going to get in a car with me, then wrapped the takeout container holding the shutki with about five extra layers of plastic wrap. Personally I love it but find it's best in small doses and more as a condiment than a main course.

If anyone is interested I'd be happy to organize a dinner here (and perhaps could bring my MIL to help us navigate the offerings).

Edit: my wife informs me I've mixed up the two Bangladeshi restaurants in this complex and that the shutki comes from the other one, Gharer Khabar. Either way, my offer still stands.

I'd be interested, perhaps post in the Argos Set Sail thread and more Arlingtonians will join?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan, you won't get a huge crowd, but I think this is a wonderful idea that will draw some attention to a formerly decrepit shopping center that has become intriguing. Has anyone noticed the grocery store that just opened there?

Spoke to the MIL, and she's thrilled to do this. She'll be back in DC mid February, and I'll post a few potential dates a couple weeks in advance for people to respond to. Looking forward to it!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Spoke to the MIL, and she's thrilled to do this. She'll be back in DC mid February, and I'll post a few potential dates a couple weeks in advance for people to respond to. Looking forward to it!

Hey folks, sorry this took so long, but MIL is in town this week, and we were looking at this coming Wednesday or Thursday (March 26 or 27) as potential dates to do a casual dinner at Aladdin with anyone else who's interested.  Maybe around 6:30-7:00.

If you'd like to come, let me know what your availability is.  I'll wait until Monday evening to see what the interest looks like and then I guess I can start a new thread in events and gatherings.

Dan

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, let's try Thursday night, 6:45.

All, let me know if you'd like to come.  I'm sure it will be a small gathering, but let's try to get a headcount by Wednesday night, and I'll have my MIL call in advance to let them know we're coming and to see if they can prepare some specialties.  I'll also post something in Events and Gatherings right now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no idea about what all the things we ordered were called, but I will try to describe them and maybe Rhone can say what their names were:

We had two types of Dal, one that seemed plain and one with split peas.  I really liked the one with the split peas, it had a really nice consistency to it.  We had Aloo Bhajee (potatoes) that I thought were nicely spiced, but not spicy, kind of a comfort food.  We had the dried fish mentioned above.  I didn't find theirs incredibly pungent, I thought it was very good actually, spicy, but not to the point that you didn't get any flavor.  It tasted like what I thought a reconstituted fish curry would taste like.  We also had a shrimp curry dish, this was my favorite dish of the night, it had caramelized onions and just a really good flavor.  We also had a beef and I think a goat curry (was that the bone on one?), the one I think was a goat curry was really flavorful, this again was spicy, but I didn't find it overwhelming.  The beef though was good too, but just not quite as good.  We also had vegetables that I think is shobjee bajee- I loved this and could have eaten a whole bowl of the vegetables cooked in a light sauce with mild spices, it really played with the other dishes we got nicely.  I want to take Hubby here as I really enjoyed the meal.  The owner of the place was exceptionally nice and accommodating.  I know they do catering, but I am not sure if they do individual delivery in the area, but want to find out, this would be a great delivery addition to our normal options.

I also have to say it was so nice meeting Dan and having a meal with his family.  It was a really nice experience for me, and so nice as I otherwise would have been eating alone, so what a pleasant night.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no idea about what all the things we ordered were called, but I will try to describe them and maybe Rhone can say what their names were:

We had two types of Dal, one that seemed plain and one with split peas.  I really liked the one with the split peas, it had a really nice consistency to it.  We had Aloo Bhajee (potatoes) that I thought were nicely spiced, but not spicy, kind of a comfort food.  We had the dried fish mentioned above.  I didn't find theirs incredibly pungent, I thought it was very good actually, spicy, but not to the point that you didn't get any flavor.  It tasted like what I thought a reconstituted fish curry would taste like.  We also had a shrimp curry dish, this was my favorite dish of the night, it had caramelized onions and just a really good flavor.  We also had a beef and I think a goat curry (was that the bone on one?), the one I think was a goat curry was really flavorful, this again was spicy, but I didn't find it overwhelming.  The beef though was good too, but just not quite as good.  We also had vegetables that I think is shobjee bajee- I loved this and could have eaten a whole bowl of the vegetables cooked in a light sauce with mild spices, it really played with the other dishes we got nicely.  I want to take Hubby here as I really enjoyed the meal.  The owner of the place was exceptionally nice and accommodating.  I know they do catering, but I am not sure if they do individual delivery in the area, but want to find out, this would be a great delivery addition to our normal options.

I also have to say it was so nice meeting Dan and having a meal with his family.  It was a really nice experience for me, and so nice as I otherwise would have been eating alone, so what a pleasant night.

We had a great time, too! I agree the shutki wasn't as pungent as I expected.  It was tasty though.  The potato dish was actually aloo bharta.  Not sure if it was on the menu, or made especially for us.  It's usually not on menus because it's such a homey type dish.  Like any bharta (eggplant being the one you see more typically at South Asian restaurants) it's a mash...in this case, potatoes with mustard oil, raw onions, cilantro, and dried roasted red chiles.  It has a denser consistency than mashed potatoes I think because the mustard oil binds things together.

I also loved the shrimp, which was dopiaza style (which I think refers to the onions being cooked two ways, some longer and more caramelized, and others added more toward the end of the cooking process).

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hubby and I went back, I couldn't resist getting the shrimp curry again because well it is very good.  Hubby got the goat curry.  I asked them if the dish was supposed to be spicy to allow it to be, and mine was very tasty and left me with a runny nose, but not unbearable, I had it with Aloo Bhajee (which isn't mashed as the one above) but is peas, potatoes, carrots and onions finely diced.  I liked this instead of rice.  We got samosas which were also very tasty (again potato, carrot, pea on the inside).  I had his goat curry leftovers and really enjoyed it, very tender with a little spice to it, but a thicker sauce that was lovely with the leftovers and the peas I added to in the reheat.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...