Two Bengali Places in Arlington, VA

The intersection of Langston Blvd and George Mason has long been a tiny “Little Bangledesh” in Arlington with two Bengali restaurants, two very small markets, and now a larger market that has an array of items from throughout the sub-continent.

For the restaurants, my fidelity has always been to Gharer Khabar where I’ve had many great meals even though, as the years went by, the quality varied. The fuchka, moghlai paratha, roast chicken, and hilsa fish were a devastating combination of flavors and textures.

I finally managed to try the other place, Aladdin, which I believe changed hands at some point during the pandemic.

The experience was a bit comical, as it seems the very sweet but confused folks here acted like a family tele-transported form another dimension and had no idea where anything was or how to cook food.
We waited for a long time, during which they brought us food that we didn’t order simply because it was already prepared. When the food we did order came, some of it was dreadful, like the pre-cooked food we were gifted. For the record we got a chicken biryani (bland, oily, yet funky), a completely dry and overcooked paneer -and-spinach, a credible dal which was spicy with an unusual orange color, and a huge bowl of unannounced yellow-ish liquid which we had no idea about. There was some cilantro flaoting on top. We got the fuchka too, which was completely uninteresting and mushy until you poured the tamarind water on it, and then it was very, very spicy.

We departed confused, just like the people running the place.

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Wow! That’s bizarre, to say the least. Thanks for sharing.

What a disaster. It sounds like a TV comedy, where criimnals interrupted in robbing the place have the actual staff tied up back in the kitchen.

Yes, that could be it! It’s the only explanation.

I have been gone for some time, but when I lived nearby i thought I heard that Aladdin did almost all of its business in the catering department. But that was around 2 years ago and if there has been a change of ownership, who knows what went wrong.
I used to visit Gharer Khabar from time to time. I loved their fuchka with the tamarind sauce, the mughlai parathas and their goat biryanis were good but they varied a great deal, one would be dry and the next would be served with a kind of oily sauce though it was not a curry. I tried their fish curry and it was not good.
But even given the shortcomings, their good dishes outweighed the not so good.
Right next door is ANOTHER good spot, Charga Grill. The owners really seem to love food and they serve food from a couple different countries. And their serving size is huge, too. Plan to bring food home with you.
That is a great food zone, Steve!

I agree that Gahrer Khabar is inconsistent. Evenings are probably better than lunchtime…

I went to Charga after it opened. I got the charga chicken which I thought was terrible. But I did see an Under New Management sign not long after that, so I am hoping the recent accolades are more accurate than my assessment. It just made Tim Carman’s list of Ten Best Casual Dine-In places.

Also to note, after my experience with charga chicken I looked up some Pakistani videos on You Tube on how it’s made, and what I was served bore no resemblance to what I saw on the videos.