Walking along Campbell Avenue in Shirlington, the choices are many for lunch or dinner. Since it's been a while since I've eaten Indian cuisine, I ventured into Aroma. The restaurant sets some high standards for itself with 'Finest Indian Cuisine' under its name.
Since the dinner crowd was only beginning to stir I was offered my choice of table and took one by the window. The restaurant became full within the hour with walk-up diners occupying half of the dining room and a private party sectioned off occupying the other.
Since I'm not too familiar with the heat or flavor of Indian Cuisine, the Mixed Grill ($17.95) plate under the Chef Recommendations looked promising. I was surprised when a server came table side to stir fry the dish of tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, seekh kababa, tandoori shrimp and mixed vegetables. Sides of nan bread, jasmine rice and a saucy chickpeas dish were served with the entree. Preceding the meal was a basket of papadum (wafer thin flour crackers) and a coriander chutney in lieu of the standard bread and butter.
The tandoori chicken and shrimp had enough heat from its pepper marinate for my taste buds. I was expecting a richer flavor from the chicken tikka. The seekh kababa resembled a meaty sausage and your enjoyment of it will depend on your taste for lamb. The nan, rice and chana masala (chickpeas) helped to balance the meal between bites of the different flavored proteins.
The meal was filling and was far too much for me to finish on my own. A glass of Riesling ($6.50) from California made a sweet companion to the spicy entree combination plate.
The dining room is a combination of warm lighting, dark wood and Indian accents and a ceiling of slim bamboo trunks. Tables along the banquettes are closer together than the tables in the middle of the dining room.
As the restaurant became full, it appeared the servers were in no rush to turn the tables. It was difficult to get a server's attention to bring the bill but I was not waiting endlessly when someone came to clear my table. I asked for the bill and it came soon after.
The meal was tasty and filling if not terribly exciting. But with so many choices in Shirlington, another restaurant will have its turn the next time I'm on this avenue.
More info at aromarestaurant.com. Open Mon-Sun 11:30am-10pm, Fri & Sat until 10pm. Aroma operates a second location in Washington, DC.