Bar open late
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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Aja Restaurant Review: Contemporary Asian fare from local restaurateur Tom Catherall is the focus in this vast space that boasts a Buddha's bust among its décor. The extensive small-plates menu allows one to assemble a light repast, while mains present a wide variety of classics. Spicy lamb vindaloo doesn't exhibit the heat level that the dish might present if made in an Indian restaurant, but nevertheless yields tender lamb and vegetables in an aromatic sauce. Vegetarians should note that the kitchen is willing to substitute tofu for other proteins in most entrées. Catherall has always believed in sushi, calling it as American nowadays as pasta, so the selection is extensive and well-prepared. Consider, too, the Chinese roast half duck with steamed buns and hoisin sauce. While preparations are good, more authentic fare is to be found in Atlanta's myriad Asian restaurants, but Aja makes it easy to sample a wide range of tastes. Chef Marlyn Hernandez makes the desserts, and after this food, her homemade coconut ice cream seems to be the sweet of choice. The wine list offers some options that go with the cuisine, among them a rosé of Sangiovese from Walla Walla, Wash.