Aria’s Restaurant & Catering Company
2016 Best Business Lunch, Silver
When our senior editor (who doesn’t cook) said she liked the lamb shank at Aria’s so much, it inspired her to run to Whole Foods and buy one to try to replicate the dish, I knew I had to go eat there. My daughter Tori and I arrive during their 5:30 service; a few other guests are in hushed conversation while John Coltrane blues softly fill the air. I order the lamb shank and the waitress asks if Tori and I are splitting the dish. “No,” I answer, “it’s for me. Tori is ordering a pasta.” We finish eating our petite Caesar salads and the entrées arrive. Mine is ginormous. Prepared in a savory, rich chocolate chipotle sauce chock-full of carrots, tomatoes and onions, the tender meat has just the right amount of spiciness, while the creamy maizena (polenta) transports me to a food memory in South Carolina. Tori dips her fork into my dish for a taste, and comes back again a few more times.
Good food genetics run deep in the Carson family, who hail from Newport, Rhode Island. Aria, the grandmother of restaurant owners Ed and Majik Carson, worked as an in-house caterer for the Vanderbilts and the Kennedys, and for jazz festival promoter George Wein.
As much as I try, I can only eat about a third of the lamb, and box the rest to enjoy at home. Sheepishly, I tell our server, “Now I know why you asked if we were splitting the dish.”
As for our senior editor, she flubbed the recipe, but found a silver lining: a great excuse to head back to the Vineyard Street restaurant for another lamb shank . . . though, to be honest, you don’t need any excuse to eat at Aria’s.
2062 West Vineyard Street, Wailuku • 242-ARIA (2742) • AriasMaui.com