Are you someone that likes pizza? Are you the type of person that says, I hate tomatoes! But eats all things tomato based? Like ketchup and pasta sauce? Are you the friend that goes to restaurants that specialize in spicy flavored food, but say to the waiter, I don’t like spicy food, so can you make mine less spicy? If so, Aria Pizzeria is the restaurant for you.
The day after the Black Death that was Eatonville, I spent an evening with some colleagues at Aria. It’s in the cutest location, adjacent to the Ronald Reagan Building, which I’ve always thought was a picturesque little spot, half park, half concrete walkway adorned with little benches. It’s one of those places in the city, that if I have to come here, I don’t mind being here. And there’s a metro station (Federal Triangle), directly below.
That about does it for the pleasantries though here. I show up for dinner very fashionably late, like extremely fashionably late, almost to the point where I should be ashamed of myself. Everyone was at the bottom of drink one and their food had already come from the kitchen. So in my effort to catch up, I rushed into my order and didn’t really get an opportunity to peruse the menu like I wanted to. Don’t be like me, boys and girls, never rush into a dining experience. The waiter was kind enough, however, a Howard University student and Music Appreciation major. He passed me a menu and in an effort to join the rest of the party, I briefly glanced at the few pages enclosed in discolored plastic and settled almost instantly on the Jerk Chicken Salad. That sounds yummy right? In hindsight though, I don’t always make the best decisions on an empty, and somewhat sour, stomach, but I’m a glutton for punishment, what can I say.
Moving on, I try to get caught up with everyone else. I’m brought up to speed and told that the Sangria tastes like grape juice and the food is just okay. Oh great, can’t wait to dig in. My food comes back out almost immediately, almost as if they were waiting for me to arrive. I felt special, until I tasted the food. I took a forkful of the chicken first, with a little bit of the yummy looking sauce (I’m such a sauce fan, I can’t eat a meal without some sort of glue to hold it all together). When I began to chew the chicken, I waited for that welcome, friendly, smack in the mouth of Jerk flavor. When I realized that there was no spice to the chicken nor to whatever that dressing was, I could not have been more disappointed! A “Jerk” Chicken with zero spice, and zero flavor? It’s one thing to serve guests ill-tasting food or cold food or the wrong food, but a restaurant that serves bland food? That is easily the world’s greatest offense to tastebuds.
I kept eating out of obligation. Something in my mind said, you need to finish this to say you’ve actually been here. But I really wanted to send the food back and just plain say, No thank you. Maybe I’m in the wrong here, though. Maybe I should’ve come to a Pizzeria and ordered a pizza, not a salad. Perhaps the fault is with me and I can own up to that.
We were sitting within this glass greenhouse of a dining area, which sits off to the side of the restaurant, and where the bar is located. If you’re coming here for a quiet dinner, don’t sit anywhere near the bar, because the patrons here are easily loosed and the noise they make reverberates loudly off of the glass, causing disruptions to everyone near them. Not that I’m a party pooper. Party on!
Final offense: on a Friday night, we were kicked out super early, around 8 or 9PM. Our sweet little waiter was coming back to our table every 10 minutes asking if we were okay. I just thought he was being super friendly but quickly realized he was trying to get us the hell out of there. I can’t blame him, I wouldn’t want to be around that food for much longer either.
Score: 2 out of 5