Friday, February 22, 2013

Restaurant Review: Aria Pizzeria & Bar, Washington D.C.

As my previous post stated, I went to Washington D.C. for a long weekend with friends for a fun filled  trip of sight-seeing and eating - two of my favorite things.  Our first day we were near the National Mall when we decided it was time for lunch.  Not wanting the cafeteria options at the museums and we decided to find a close-by sit down restaurant.  Thanks to modern technology, the closest restaurant to us that also offered alcohol - hey we are on vacation! - happened to be Aria Pizzeria & Bar.  The reviews on Urbanspoon and Yelp! noted on the terrible service at Aria and we thought it couldn't be that bad could it?  It was, maybe even worse.

We visited a Friday afternoon after the lunch rush around 2:00 in the afternoon.  We stood at the hostess-less hostess stand for a few minutes before we were acknowledged (meanwhile waitstaff constantly walked by).  We were eventually greeted with a, "Three? Sit here," from a man in the bar area as he pointed to the closest table near him.  This rubbed me the wrong way.  I have no problem with eating in the bar area, I have a problem with a what is presumed to be manager (since he was in a shirt and tie and not the Aria button up) not walking over to greet patrons of his restaurant and walking them to the table.  We read the generous menu and eventually decided on an appetizer of garlic pizza knots and a large margherita pizza, a bottle of wine for my friend and and I and a beer for her husband.  Only thing was, we still hadn't been acknowledged by a waiter.  Some time had passed, after many unsuccessful attempts to to grab the attention of waiters walking by, before a bartender came over and took our drink and appetizer order.   Only after did that a waitress finally come over, greet us, and asked what we'd like to drink.  Um... Before we got a chance to explain the bartender came rushing over and let her know he already took our drink and appetizer order.  We then placed our pizza order with her before she ran off.  

Our appetizer was served to us very promptly and it was delicious.  The knots were not like any I had experienced before.  The garlic knots I'm familiar with are hunks of pizza crust in a knot formation brushed with butter, garlic and cheese.  These were almost a-phylo-like dough brushed with butter, garlic and cheese then rolled up and placed in a dish to bake.  It was so good!  There may or may not have been a small fork fight over the last one in the dish.

The pizza also came out very quick.  The pizza was good, not bad but also nothing outstanding.  Sauce was very good but it was on the light side, and we asked for more from a passing by bartender. The mozzarella was also very good.  The dough was the disappointing feature, it was a bit too thick and a little chewy in the crust area.

Good Margherita Pizza
After our pizza pan and empty plates were cleared away our waitress decided to show up again with the bill.  She never once returned to make sure our food was alright or if we needed a refill of drinks - which is unacceptable.  I've been a waitress before, you don't show up to take an order then show up for the second time at the end of the meal to give the bill.  You stop back in with your tables to make sure things are going okay/ refill drinks/ ask if anything else is needed.  Anywhoo, I told her that we weren't ready for the bill because we would be ordering dessert as well, to this news she rolled her eyes and removed the bill from the table.  We ordered cannoli for our dessert - I have a small weakness for them.  The cannoli took forever to get to us, I have no idea why as no 'sorry for the wait we had to run to Italy to get them' excuse was offered by our waitress.  And unfortunately, they weren't worth the wait - there was no filling in the center, just on the ends!  And the filling, appeared to us to just be chocolate frosting, not a yummy rich and decadent ricotta filling.  Disappointing.

Empty Cannoli :(

Overall, unless you're getting carry out, stay away - the good food doesn't make up for the terrible service.  If you're eating in, sit in the bar area.

Aria Pizzeria & Bar on Urbanspoon

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