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Restaurants & Bars

Bistro Aracosia, Afghan in DC - Report

Steve | Jan 17, 201801:10 PM     2

Nine Chowhounds descended upon Bistro Aracosia for their elegant take on Aghani cuisine in the Palisades neighborhood. I had already scoped out the place for lunch, and on the vegetarian platter I found a remarkable version of sabzi chalou (greens) that avoided the pitfalls of the soupy puddle you normally find at Afghan places. The other platter components included a very nice potato qorma, eggplant, and squash. This is a really good selection.

We ordered a lot of dishes, and I am not sure I remember them all. We started off with these mezze:

Sambosa - a MUST ORDER
Carrot slaw - very good with a bit of tang
Aushak
Quroti- I have not seen this on other Afghan menus
Roasted eggplant bouranee
Roasted squash bouranee
Sabzi turnovers

The sambosas bear little relationship to the relatively heavy ones elsewhere. The ultra-delicate skin is like a puri bubbling from hot oil and the inside is airy and juicy. Holy moley these were good!

It's hard to go wrong with aushak, these are always good, but the ones here maybe had a bit less flavor than what I'm used to elsewhere.

The quroti, a kind of soaked bread dish, was very nice.

We then went onto the main courses:

Baandenjaan Chalou
Kadoo Chalou
Veal Lawaan
Risotto and Beef
Aracosia Lamb Platter
Chicken Sabzi Lawaan
*We ordered a 7th dish, but now I forget which*

Their great sabzi is muted with the addition of yogurt in the sabzi lawaan, so I would not order that again and just stick with the sabzi chalou. The veal chunks have less flavor than the chicken, as you might expect, so I am not interested in this nod to upscale eating.

The 'risotto' here is with lentils with chickpeas and mung beans. This is a fine braised beef dish that is like a long-cooking Italian peposo, with its peppery kick.

The lamb rib chops are the superstar of the lamb platter. Gorgeous flavor. One of the best grilled lamb dishes around. They also have a Frenched rack of lamb on the menu, so maybe that's a better deal.
To start, they give you a carousel of four chutneys: one avocado, one mango, one cilantro, and one hot red pepper. All are outstanding.

This was a highly enjoyable meal all around.

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