Mike Isabella opened his new restaurant, Arroz, and it will blow your mind and taste buds. Unlike Isabella’s traditional Italian and Greek inspired restaurants, Arroz takes you into Spain and Morocco with unique and refreshing flavors. The restaurant is bright and fresh feeling, but also gives a sense of ethnicity from the patterned walls, blue colors and two person booths shaped like key holes that line the restaurant walls. Arroz is the Spanish word for rice, meaning of course they have rice, so now lets get into the good stuff, a tour of food!
I will start by saying to not let the Spanish inspiration fray you away with the thought of tapas in your mind. Diners are suggested to share dishes with the table – and yes, I have never seen such perfect sharable portions before. Moroccan also doesn’t mean only meat – there are lots of vegetable options and many dishes can be prepared with a non-meat option or sauce.
Arroz offers a wide drink selection – it can be a little pricey but oh my, it is so worth it. Extensive beer list – both draft and bottles. A nice wine variety; and sangria – you can choose from a red, white or rosé. I got the rosé sangria and it was awesome, – so tasty. The cocktails are all $15 but include every liquor from vodka to bourbon, whiskey and mezcal and every single one of them was delicious.
Arroz served many delicious ‘plates‘ to be shared. They are all creatively plated and taste crisp and fresh. The gem lettuce, crispy tortillas and cod croquettes were pretty bomb. The Patatas Bravas are a must – after one order we had to order another.
Many restaurants serve Patatas Bravas – potatoes topped with a brava sauce of spicy tomato puree. Often seen in a Spanish Tapas restaurant, these wedge cut potatoes are typically served in a bowl to share. But not at Arroz. Isabella introduces a new take on this potato lovers dream snack. The dish comes served in many squares of bite sized layered potatoes crisped to perfection with a perfectly soft inside. I like to call them golden cubes of crispy potato goodness.
The entrees are meant to be shared too. While eating the chicken dish, I actually described it as, as white and fluffy like a pillow. It was juicy and cooked to perfection. It was served over a nice sauce with chickpeas and shredded chicken. A great dish for sharing. But I will not judge if you get one all to yourself.
And now, the dish that the restaurant must be named after, the rice dish. The giant (I mean really giant) pan of rice that gets delivered to your table for all to share. Bomba Rise served as either, summer vegetable, Maryland crab, aged duck or berkshire pig. I only tried one, because like I said they are giant, but I am pretty sure you couldn’t go wrong – the summer vegetable bomba rice was delightful. They bring the rice last, after the appetizers and shared entrees so make sure you save room.
A tip: make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan for the crispy rice full of flavor. Break the egg, get some veggies and make sure your bite has a little bit of everything.
And if you’re not full from all the deliciousness, get dessert because after a meal this good you’ll want something a little sweet.
It’s one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in a while. The unique vibe, the friendly staff, and the delicious food. It’s worth it. Go. Head over to 901 Massachusetts Ave NW. And enjoy!