The spring debut will bring an upscale setting for Afghan food.
As the owner of two critically acclaimed restaurants—the first, Afghan Bistro in Springfield, and the second, Bistro Aracosia in D.C.’s Palisades neighborhood—Omar Masroor often gets approached by leasing agents and developers to open a third spot.
It’s finally worked. Masroor plans for a spin-off with Aracosia to open in McLean in March.
Where Bistro Aracosia expanded the menu and upped the formality of Afghan Bistro, Aracosia will be another step in that direction with white tablecloths, servers in ties and classical Afghan paintings. “We don’t do modern industrial looks,” says Masroor of the minimal-and-metal trend long dominating restaurant interior designs. Instead, there will be rich colors like lapis lazuli, burgundy reds, mustard yellows and olive greens.
Aracosia’s menu will overlap with the offerings of its sister restaurants, with a few new dishes, including large hunks of meat: a tomahawk chopan, a 36-ounce cut from the ribs meant to feed two or three people; goat shank; goat ribs; and lamb neck. Vegetable-forward dishes showcase okra lawaan (yogurt sauce), okra Moghuli in a spicy tomato-masala sauce with eggplant and Thai chili peppers and a bouranee platter (roasted vegetables with a yogurt drizzle) with the likes of turnips, zucchini, carrots, quince, cauliflower and okra.
Opening in the usually cold month of March, there will be a tosh payra dumpling stew, oxtail soup, lentil soup and homach soup, a thinner porridge-like dish made from oatmeal and barley.
The cuisine is a departure from Masroor’s first visit to the restaurant at that very address more than 20 years ago. Masroor tells the story of taking his wife to Il Borgo Italian Restaurant and remembers admiring the upscale decor and the air of formality and said, “If I ever do a restaurant, it will be something like this.” // 1381 Beverly Road, McLean