I dine out a lot. I tend to try at least one or two new places a week. Eventually you get to a point where you’re getting the same thing over and over again from one place to the next. So a place like this which is different, creative, whimsical, and not at the expense of the excellence of the taste, is a welcome and refreshing delight. I got here just as they opened. It would be another hour before the kitchen opened so I ended up having four cocktails. All of them were creative and delicious. I was able to convince them to let me do the tasting menu which is normally only available to the chef’s table. The dining experience definitely had some wow factor. I remember quite a few times throughout saying exactly that, “wow this is fucking amazing.”
This was my first experience with Indian food, and I absolutely loved it. The cocktails were different, not bad, but next time I’ll be sampling the Indian beer selection. Approaching the menu was intimidating, it is what has kept me away from trying something I’ve so badly wanted to for so long. I asked the server to recommend two starters and two entrees. Samosas and naan are a couple things one must sample. I loved the naan although it was naan-complimentary. Samosas are in my opinion avoidable. The other three dishes: essentially stewed goat, lamb, and a bone in chicken dish were all very tasty. Now that I’ve made the leap Indian cuisine will definitely play a bigger role in my diet, and Cumin may just be my regular spot.
It’s 8pm-ish on a Friday night and the restaurant is at about a quarter capacity. I take this as a sign that I’m watching a restaurant going through it’s death throes. The service was very friendly. I had a couple cocktails, one was pretty good the other hardly palatable. Both of my dates cocktails were overly sweet. The crab rangoon appetizer was pretty good while the peking duck dumplings were a disappointment. When I think peking duck, the first thing that comes to mind is that crispy cracklin which was completely absent in the dumpling dish. I feel they should be incorporated somehow. The real disappointment of the night was the duck pho. Pho with seared foie gras, duck leg-foie meatballs, and spiced duck breast priced at nearly $30 a bowl should be out of this world. Instead it was somehow pedestrian. The one bright spot of the evening was dessert. My date and I shared the pot de creme and it was absolutely amazing. The atmosphere was really awkward. I just sort of felt bad for the place.
I’m wondering how the departure of Chef Beverly Kim has impacted Aria. I will be going for date night with my girlfriend Friday. Based on what I’ve seen on their website the decor looks pretty sexy. As far as food I will definitely have to try the “spicy peking duck dumplings”, and the “muscovy duck pho”. I’m really excited about the pho with duck leg-foie meatballs, spiced duck breast, seared foie gras, and rice noodles.