Ardeo located in the historic neighborhood of Cleveland Park strives to be a true neighborhood restaurant. Ardeo has been nominated for the Best Neighborhood Gathering Place of the year ‘Rammy‘ by the DC Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington in 2007 and 2008. This neighborhood gem, which seats 124, serves modern American cuisine while incorporating Asian, Mediterranean, and French flavors. The recent changes to the current menu by Executive Chef, Alex McWilliams reflects their commitment to the community. Ardeo has added ‘Medium Plates’ to their menu in an attempt to be more approachable to their local diners, especially in today’s trying economic times. The medium plates are designed to be a slightly larger portion than what you would receive as an appetizer, but less than an entree ranging in price from $9-14. I was invited to Ardeo on Tuesday evening to sample Ardeo’s new creations.
citrus cured scallops
The appetizers offered on the current menu range in price from $7-15. The citrus cured scallops with zenzero oilo are very thin slivers of fresh scallops served with a deliciously tangy and refreshing diced pineapple and ginger chutney and priced at $10 (see photo on right). An excellent accompaniment to the scallops is the frisee and baby spinach salad which has deliciously soft honey goat cheese, vanilla vinaigrette, and sweet candied almonds (photo included in slide show).
The new Medium Plates include slow roasted eggplant and spring onion bruschette, charred octopus, seared ahi tuna, peekyoe crab salad, grandanina pasta, mussels, skirt steak, and roasted trout. The charred octopus is truly a sight to see. The octopus tentacles are bright aubergine in color and have striking texture – a beautiful presentation. It’s served atop of thick chunks of fingerling potatoes, peppercress, and onions in a light warm green olive vinaigrette (see photo above on left). The thickest part of the octopus tentacles were the most flavorful and by accident, I mixed some of the diced pineapple and ginger chutney from the citrus cured scallops with the octopus and I actually preferred the combination of the flavors more than the green olive vinaigrette.
seared ahi tuna
The seared ahi tuna is not a unique dish – but the smoked tea crust is – and it’s delicious. The carnaroli rice and foraged mushroom cakes is like a golden delicate fritter. They could easily be their own appetizer (see photo on left). The grandanina pasta has a very interesting yet familiar texture. It’s quite similar to a creamy risotto. It’s delicious. The foraged mushrooms and fresh garbanzo beans make this is healthy favorite. The charbroiled natural beef skirt steak was a little bit chewy and I had difficulty cutting it. The steak was served atop of the potato puree which was light, smooth, and delicious. The truffled asparagus ‘frites’ – are asparagus lighted breaded and fried to a crisp. I think they would have been great with a light garlic aioli on the side. (photos included in slide show).
Ardeo’s owner, Washington restaurateur Ashok Bajaj, is not foreign to operating a successful restaurant. His experience and recognition speak for itself. Not only has he been a DC restaurateur for over 20 years, but two of Bajaj’s restaurants, Oval Room and Rasika, were ranked in the top 20 in the Washingtonian’s recent “100 Very Best Restaurants” issue. How does he do it? Megan Bailey of Heather Freeman Public Relations Group suggests that his success can be attributed to the fact that, “every single night he visits each one of his restaurants. He knows what is going on in each one of his restaurants. Not a lot of restaurant owners do that.” In addition to Ardeo and its sister Bardeo, wine bar and cafe, next door, Bajaj owns Bombay Club, 701, and the new Italian venture, Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca.
For more info: http://ardeorestaurant.com/; located at 3311 Connecticut Ave., NW; Ph: 202.244.6750
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