On Friday evening, AV and I headed to one of my favorite places in the city-- Aroma Kitchen & Wine Bar. I've reported on this place before (see here and here), but I always like to come back because it's such a welcoming and enjoyable experience.
We arrived several minutes late for our 8PM reservation, as there was lots of Friday evening traffic (and we were in a cab... Hi Mom!), but the staff at Aroma was unperturbed. We were shown to a tiny table near the door, which was cold but cozy. Once settled in, we looked at the menu (which has been updated since the last time I was there, hooray!) and listened to a lengthy recitation of specials. We also, of course, dove into their wine list, which is by far the silliest and most approachable wine list I've ever encountered. We chose a sparkling red on the basis of its description ("raspberry mist... first kiss"). It was dangerously delicious, sweet and easy to drink, like fizzy Welch's grape juice that makes you happier with every sip.
As we drank our wine, a runner brought over their delicious bread basket along with a dish of olives resting in good olive oil. Their bread is same as ever-- crusty with a chewy interior and thoroughly delicious with the olive oil. Yum.
Our entrees arrived quite promptly. AV had ordered the steak, a special, which came with a bed of wilted greens and roasted potatoes. He pronounced it delicious and particularly well-cooked, arriving just at the requested temperature.
My own entree was a new salad offering: arugula with marinated artichokes, sauteed royal trumpet mushrooms, and toasted walnuts, all under a blanket of parmesan cheese. You may remember that my previous reviews of Aroma have bemoaned their lack of a "serious" salad, one that was interesting and creative and filled you up appropriately. Well, here it is. This salad was truly spectacular-- the ingredients were all fresh and cooperated well on the plate, and the portion was ample. I would highly, highly recommend this salad, and I would return to Aroma just to try it again. Success!
We were both full from the food (and perhaps the bubbles?), so we skipped dessert and lingered at the table to finish the wine, finally paying and skipping out into the frigid night. Aroma has most certainly kept its four Offset Spatula designation-- the food is great, the atmosphere is welcoming and calming, the service is friendly and attentive, and the wine list is worth a visit in itself. If you're looking for a place to visit with a date, a group of friends, a gaggle of coworkers, or any configuration of people in your life, head over for a meal or just a glass of wine. You will certainly be happy you did.
36 E. 4th Street, between Bowery and Lafayette