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Aroma, An Indian Chain Downtown on 19th and I Street, Shirlington, and Lorton

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So sorry if there is already a thread for this restaurant that I didn't see...

Aroma on 19th and I is one of those places near my office that I see and wonder about all the time...and last night I finally went. Although the dining room was almost as cold as the outdoor air, the atmosphere is very pleasant, the staff was friendly, and my friend and I had a great time.

The lamb roganjosh (with almond paste, garlic, and tasty saffron rice) was tender and very good. I didn't try my friend's chicken murgh makhani, but it smelled very good and it pleased him.

Nothing out of this world, but a pleasant stop. I'll try it for lunch next week and give an update.

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there used to be a sicilian restaurant in this spot that was far more interesting than aroma but didn't stick around for long. it was on the expensive side, so we only went once or twice. i can't remember the name, but it might have been a woman's. maybe the chef was a friend of marian burros, and she might have written a cookbook. :lol:

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I'm usually much better at remembering restaurant details, but we had an amazing meal at Aroma in Shirlington last year after watching Match Point (so, November of 05 or so). We eat at a fair number of Indian places, and perhaps we just ordered well off the menu, but we thought it was fabulous. Has anyone else been?

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Batter (*) Up!

The Aroma Special Fish Curry ($15.25) at the Shirlington Aroma is advertised as "Fresh Cod fish spiced with Onions, Garlic, and fresh masalas."

If this tough, dense, granular-flaked cod was swimming anytime recently, I'm Joe DiMaggio. I compare this with the fresh cod I had at Eamonn's for lunch yesterday, and all I can say is, strike one.

"What's your best bread?" I asked the server.

"The Garlic Kulcha is great," he said ($3.25), but he neglected to mention that it would be nothing more than their tired naan, stuffed with rectangular cubes of garlic chips. Strike two.

Mixed Grill is one of only three dishes listed under "Chef Recommendations," but at $17.95, it consisted of one tough, overcooked shrimp, one leg of Tandoori chicken with thigh, one boneless cube of Chicken-Tikka meat, and one Seekh kabob. The accompaniments of bland potatoes and naan didn't come close to justifying the price - strike three, you're out.

(*) And the batter in the Vegetable Sampler ($6.95) was fried in oil that would have made Gaylord Perry wince.



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Friday night my wife and I walked to Shirlington to have dinner. We went without any place in particular in mind and the smell coming out of Aroma seemed appetizing. We had not been in 7 years and I doubt that we will ever go again. I cannot remember the last time I had such a horribly meal. We were seated and handed menus, then we waited and waited. Saw another couple seated who promptly had drinks served, and we waited.

Finally after 20 minutes our waitress took our order. Then we waited some more. We were about to leave when our appetizer arrived but not our drinks. I had to flag down the manager to get our waitress to come back out. She apologized profusely, and comped our appetizer - it was the same dreadful vegetable sampler that Don had and I think they still use the same oil, and we barely touched anything.

The barely touched appetizer sat on our table for another 25 minutes before the manager came over and asked us if we wanted our entrees now.  We said yes and waited another 20 minutes.

The tandoori shrimp were cooked to the point of being hard rubber balls.  We each had one bite and when the waitress finally came by I told her that they were way overcooked.  She took it back to show the chef and still charged us for them. The butter chicken had a great tasting sauce, but the chicken was so dry that an airline would be embarrassed to serve it. The Saag Paneer was the only dish that we finished; I am sure that if you could cook all the moisture out of paneer they would have figured out how.

Bombay Curry Company cannot open soon enough.

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