January 6th, 2012

Have you ever been to a Thai restaurant that, for some reason, has a sushi menu? How about a Vietnamese place where you can get a hamburger? I once went to a Chinese restaurant where you could also order a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I am always suspicious of these places. I just don’t believe that a place can authentically represent two different cultures at the same time, and that opinion is generally supported by the generically greasy fare I am served in them. Normally I forgive places like this for two reasons: They are typically very cheap, first. And, second, I will mostly find myself in one only when there is no real other option.

A couple of years ago a bizarre little restaurant showed up in the neighborhood. Its name was Arya and it purported to serve Persian, Italian and American food. As we are surrounded by good food here and as nothing about this place suggested that it would be inexpensive, I assumed that the only relationship I would ever have to it would be to laugh at it when I passed, and for a long time this was true.

Then, a few months ago, they changed their sign. It now refers to itself as a “bar and grill”. They can’t fool me, I thought, it’s still the same culturally uncertain place it always was. It worked on our general manager, though, and she went even though we laughed at her for it. But she came back with stories of delicately balanced sweet and savory rice dishes and a very talented Persian chef with an unstoppable love for Italian cuisine, and demanded that it be written about here.

I went with my heels dragging, but I’m writing to you as a convert. I am sorry for being a judgemental ass. I’m sorry for all the other ways that I am judgemental in my life. I feel a little bit better because I know that they changed their sign because it was putting everyone, not just me, off, but, still. So, go, please, and help atone for my sins.

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