#250: Aria Kabob Cuisine

I was thinking it’s been a while since I’ve been to the Galleria and I was getting hungry for lunch so I headed on over to see what was new.  It was about noon when I arrived and the mall was fairly busy.  I found plenty of parking on the upper levels of the large parking structure though and headed in.

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The food court seemed mostly unchanged, with the exception of Hibachi San (a business I haven’t seen since I was a kid in Valco Fashion Center of San Jose) and a Persian spot called Aria.  I did some quick googling to see if Aria was a big chain and, to my surprise, it actually seems to be a unique-to-Roseville business.  I headed on over and took a look over the menu.

Persian cuisine isn’t exactly hugely represented in this area.  We had a Persian restaurant for a couple years near Sierra College and Douglas, but other than that the only one I can think of at the moment of is in Rancho Cordova (Shahrzad).  From what I could tell looking at the menu here, they seemed to cover the basics of the main dishes – kabobs (chicken, beef, lamb), gyros and wraps.  They also have a section with burgers, including one that had my interest, with a ground beef/lamb mix patty, but I’ll save that for another time.

Today I ordered the Chicken Ghormeh (chicken ghormeh in a delicious sauce)[$8.99].  I had first asked what it comes with and was told rice and salad.  I decided to add a side of Falafel (golden fried patties of ground garbanzo beans, herbs and spices)[$4.99] and finished it off with a soda [$1.99].  I was given my soda and a pager and headed off into the crowded dining area to find a table.  I had just found one towards the center and sat down when the pager lit up.  Seemed kind of fast, and it was.  When I went back to Aria the cashier told me she was sorry and forgot that they were out of the chicken ghormeh.  She offered me a refund or to choose something else @ $8.99.  I skimmed over the other items at that price to try and avoid another transaction and settled on the Beef and Lamb Gyro plate.

By this time a seat had opened right next to Aria so I grabbed it and waited just under 10 minutes for my pager to go off again.  I found it interesting that most of the customers, as I waited and watched a few come up and order, were almost all of Middle Eastern decent.  Meanwhile, Buckhorn grill next-door was hoppin’ with a line 10 deep at times.  I hoped that this was not a sign of the quality of food here and that rather most people just haven’t tried Persian food and aren’t too adventurous.  I didn’t get to think to hard on that because soon my food was ready to be picked up.

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The presentation was decent, except for the salad which was lackluster, and aside from a stay piece of lettuce that made it’s way onto the tray everything was neatly plated.  The falafel looked wonderfully golden brown and each piece had a little dab of tzatziki sauce on it.  I didn’t realize that this entree also came with some pita bread and red pepper hummus, so that was a nice surprise.

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I had a piece of falafel first, which was slightly bigger than bite-sized.  The color was a good indication of how nicely it was fried.  The texture was great and it was nice and crunchy on the outside while warm and soft inside.  They had just a bit of spice that was immediately toned down by the cool tzatziki sauce.  I really dug these, however they would be better to share with someone.  A half-sized order would have been plenty with my entree.

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The salad was about as impressive as it’s appearance.  It was simply bits of romain lettuce with a very, very light dressing on it.  The pita with hummus was pretty great.  As good as most hummus I’ve had so far and the pita bread was nice and soft.

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Moving on to the main dish, there was a very good amount of the shaved beef & lamb gyro meat spread out over a large pile of warm, soft Persian rice with a small amount of bright yellow saffron flavored grains over top.  Topping the whole thing was plenty of tzatziki sauce for every bite.  The gyro was soft and spiced lightly.  I really enjoyed this and ate almost the whole thing until I was close to full.  I had to leave room for dessert (stay tuned for that)!

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Overall I would say Aria is a nice addition to the food court which offers up something a little different compared to the usual fast American / Asian options.  We really do have a pretty good food court compared to a lot of malls.  I was a little disappointed to not get to try the chicken ghormeh.  Maybe another time.

Website: (they have a site but it’s blank, so here’s a link to their Facebook page instead): https://www.facebook.com/ariakabobcuisine

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2 thoughts on “#250: Aria Kabob Cuisine

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