I went to Bistro Aracosia in the Palisades neighborhood of D.C. with Bob and Rita and Bev and Brady.
The restaurant describes itself as an “Authentic Afghan Gourmet + Chop House”, and who am I to argue with that description?
If the address sounds familiar, that’s because it was previously Listrani’s Italian, which was particularly known for great pizza.
As you enter the restaurant there is a greeter near the front door to direct you to a table. Straight ahead there is a bar with seven stools and to the right there are a number of tables, 2s, 4s and a couple that are round and larger.
There is a second dining room to the right at the end of the bar. In the second room there are various tables and on the far wall there is a banquette running the length of the room which can work as 2s, 4s or larger.
The restaurant, including the bar, can seat up to 109 people. When the rooms are full of guests, the tables—at least in the front room—are quite close.
The décor is bright and decorative, large pictures and various draping.
A reservation is recommended although the restaurant takes walk-ins if there is room. At noon on a Sunday in August reservations online for 2 or 4 people were available throughout the evening.
At the outset, we ordered (or the restaurant provided) a basket of Lavash Bread and a variety of chutneys. The basket was refilled at least a couple of times during the evening, accompanied by fresh quantities of chutney.
Rita and Bob each started with Cucumber and yogurt soup. Rita followed with the Lamb Chop Duo which is a combination of two frenched rack rib chops and shoulder chops with basmati rice. Bob opted for the Chicken Shish-ka-bob with saffron rice.
Bev ordered Carrot Slaw and Pumpkin Dumplings for the table. She followed that by ordering Chicken Lawaan which is boneless chicken cooked in a yogurt-based stew. Brady ordered French Rack of Lamb, rack of lamb marinated overnight and then char broiled.
I was delighted to see tongue on the menu. It is my favorite meat, and this is the first time I found it in D.C. other than at the delis. It is served in a yogurt-based stew. I followed that with Saffron Chicken. I also imbibed in a non-alcoholic fruit drink containing Cranberry, Lemonade, Pomegranate, Sour Cheery and Orange Juice.
For dessert Bev ordered Baklava for the table and I ordered Cardamom Ice Cream for myself.
The portions were ample to say the least.
The service was excellent and our principal server who had only been there for two months, did very well. He, along with others who assisted us, were knowledgeable about the various dishes on the extensive menu and very attentive. Given that the restaurant was full the night we were there, the attentiveness was particularly appreciated.
There is one thing about the restaurant that is a bit unusual; in fact, I don’t recall having seen it before. There are three menus; a Kids Menu with six items, an Adventurous Kids Menu with nine items and the regular menu.
Speaking of the menus, there is a substantial Vegetarian section on the regular menu.
The restaurant serves dinner seven days a week and lunch every day except Monday.
I decided not to work my way to the restroom. Bob did and reported it was not unusual and clean.
5100 MacArthur Blvd
Washington, D.C. 20016