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AJA - Granst Pass, OR --- we were SO impressed!

c oliver | Jan 21, 201108:48 AM

Although AJA's has been open for five years we hadn't been there until last night. We no longer live in GP and when visiting we generally don't eat dinner out. What a jewel we've missed. They're on E between 5th and 6th. They have only nine tables, 50/50 4's and 2's, exposed brick wall, decent art and an open kitchen. This is a husband and wife team, wife cooks and husband is FOH. I couldn't see if there was a second person in the kitchen. If not, this place is really amazing. Reservations are certainly recommended but if I didn't have one I'd do my best to walk in.

There were three of us and we ordered five 'small plates.' A special app of fried wontons, pork maybe? Unlike good CHs I don't take notes so bear with me. A great salad that was more than enough for three to share. Very good dressing that had blue cheese "emulsified" into it, I believe. Indonesion corn fritterswith sweet chili sauce that were almost puffy they were so light. None of us could choose a favorite dish but Bob thought perhaps these were his. Mongolian ribs which were babybacks seemingly rubbed and then I'm guessing low and slow, smoked maybe. It sounds so predictable to say they were tender but, good, grief, these were amazing (maybe MY fave). Also some potstickers (pork and something?) that were the best I've ever had. The wrappers were so thin and tender. I forgot to mention that they started us with a small basket of housemade focaccia (herb?). I couldn't believe they made this inhouse. Best bread I've ever had in a restaurant. Period. We're not dessert eaters but when told they had mocha creme brulee, we said 'three spoons please.' We had a NZ SV which was very tasty. Most of the wines were in the $30/bottle price and they do allow corkage.

The menu is two pages, the left side being changed seasonally and the right side weekly. I picked up a sample menu and some of the offering, in addition to what we had some others were seafood shumai, three ccheese ravioli, a daily pizza, lamb ragout, daily fish. The larger dishes are in the $16-18 range and the smaller ones $7-8.

If I'd had this meal in SF or NYC, I'd have come away going 'oh my, what a great meal.' To have it in Grants Pass, I'm still today saying 'this is the best meal I've ever had in this town. Or all of SW Oregon actually.' I'm going to be recommending it to all our GP friends and hope people who are looking for a really good dinner go to AJA.

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Aja Restaurant
118 NW E St, Grants Pass, OR 97526

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