Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Restaurant Ruminations :: Aida

Before moving to my apartment on Grand Avenue, I spent most of my life growing up in the small suburb of Richfield.  The city doesn't have the most glamorous of food scenes, but tucked away here and there are some restaurant gems like Vina or Sandy's Tavern -- unassuming spots with great food and a neighborhood feel.  I've watched as the Richfield food scene has slowly bumped up its game, and as my parents still live in the city, I'm always anxious to try out some of the new offerings so I can give them my reviews. 

While I was reading one of my favorite food sources, The Heavy Table, I came across a quick mention of a new Mediterranean restaurant that had opened in Richfield, Aida.  What is this?  Mediterranean cuisine in Richfield Minnesota?!  I called my mother and set up a dinner date -- I had to check out this new place immediately. 

My Richfield friends will immediately recognize this location as the old Taco Bell on 66th and Penn Avenue.  The outside of the restaurant still bears some similarities to TB, but once you walk inside Aida, it's an entirely new feeling.  The tables are gleaming, colorful lanterns hang from the ceilings, wide-screen televisions display the menu offerings and cycle through photos of the food and its regional inspiration, and you can smell the aroma of cooked, spiced lamb. 
The menu is small but enticing.  And for newbies to the Mediterranean food scene, they make it very easy for you!  You can choose a sandwich, salad, or plate.  Then you choose your meat, whether it be lamb, chicken, or falafel.  Then you get to choose your toppings and sauce.  Easy!  They also have a few house specials, dessert options, and a small kid's menu for your smaller eaters.  I knew exactly what I wanted: naan falafel sandwich, topped with feta cheese, onion, and tomato, and the cucumber yogurt sauce.

It was a very tasty falafel sandwich.  The generous serving of falafel had a delightfully fried crunch on the outside and was perfectly seasoned.  The onions and tomatoes gave the sandwich a fresh aspect, which I always enjoy.  And the cucumber yogurt sauce was thicker than I'm accustomed to, but it was very delicious and very garlicky!  I think I tasted garlic for at least an entire day after eating the sandwich.  But I love garlic, so it was delightful.  All of these flavors wrapped in a piece of soft naan bread...a welcome addition to the Richfield food scene.
chicken kebab
My mom also enjoyed her chicken kebab sandwich.  The kebab is cooked to order, so you have to wait just a bit longer for it to be prepared than the other meat-based menu items.  But my mom says that it was well worth the wait.  I didn't try it, but I trust her assessment!  In addition to the good eats, the service was rave-worthy.  It's an order-at-the-counter style restaurant, but the server/cashier walked around the restaurant, asking all of the patrons about their meals.  And the food was brought out immediately after it was prepared -- whether the server brought out the plates or the cook who had just prepared them.  It was like they just could not wait to share their food with everybody.  I loved it!

I would love to go back to Aida and try more of the menu offerings, including the desserts (!), but my preliminary assessment is very positive!  I hope that the people in the Richfield community take advantage of this new restaurant and its wonderful hospitality. 

After reading my daily emails this morning, I saw that the Heavy Table also posted their review of Aida!  I was so close to being first...this is what I get for watching Smash instead of blogging!  Read the Heavy Table review here.

Restaurant Details
2208 W. 66th Street
Richfield, MN 55423
(612) 866-5061

Monday-Saturday: 11am - 10pm
Sunday: 11am - 8pm

1 comment:

  1. Christine dinner with you is always a treat. Thanks for taking me to Aide(we both know your dad never would have). The food really was good. I am a bit suprised you forgot to mention the French Fries as they were pretty darn tasty as well! As for the garlicky flavor we both enjoyed so much, I think your dad said it best, "Honey, your gonna need gasoline to remove the garlic smell from your breath".