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Sababa (Formerly Ardeo + Bardeo), Chef Ryan Moore's Modern Israeli on Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park


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I went with a friend to Ardeo a few nights ago. When we sat down and took a once over of the menu my friend asked if we should go to Indique. We both paused for a moment and then decided to stay. Big mistake.

We started with the soft shell crab appetizer and the goat cheese and white asparagus salad. I should have known better. Asparagus season was over a few months ago. But it sounded good and refreshing, which was what I wanted. At first glance it looked like a mound of arugula. After some digging I found a few spears of what turned out to be pretty good white asparagus with a disk of goat cheese on one side and the marinated wild mushrooms on the other. Not bad, not great.

The soft shell appetizer was a tempura fried soft shell crab served on a corn risotto. My friend ordered the dish for the corn risotto, breaking the first rule of ordering: don't order for the accoutrement. The tempura fried soft shell was small but fine. Nicely fried but nothing to write home about. The corn risotto was more of a corn pilaf. It was served with some sort of sauce around the plate but I don't remember what.

At the end of the appetizers my friend had two comments: 1) the apps sounded great, were good, but I wouldn't order them again and 2) this reminds me of good dinner theater food.

Our mains went downhill. My linguine with English peas and prosciutto in a cream sauce was okay. Again, I should have known better since peas aren't in season. While eating it I kept thinking that I should be down the street checking out Dino's new meat slicer. When we traded plates my friend didn't even realize that it was prosciutto in the dish.

Our other main was vegetable lasagna with beet and basil essence. We checked before ordering and found out that the pasta was house made. We had a little hope. It ended up being two layers of decent pasta with the most pathetic vegetables I have seen in a while. Cauliflower, broccoli, beets, snow peas and broccoli rabe. Not a bad combination except it is the height of vegetable season and only one of those is good right now. Oh, and cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes were the worst looking tomatoes I have seen lately, especially considering we are in tomato season. The dish was just sad. There was greatness to be had, but failure reigned.

We went down the street and apologized to our palates with a glass of wine and a cheese plate at Dino. Next time we'll go straight for the cheese. It's been a few years since I was last at Ardeo and I am sad to say that it is yet another restaurant that has let itself go downhill.

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Had a very nice Father's day carryout feast from Sababa on Sunday. They were doing a mix-grilled special for the day which we enjoyed a lot - a big platter of hawaij-spiced rice with grilled harissa c

We haven't done Restaurant Week in years simply because it no longer seemed worth the effort or money.  But given our corona times we decided to do RW take out and order and share the $35 dinner menu 

Modern Israeli for the win The restaurant will be called Sababa.  Looks like it will be more in line with the casual-er Bindaas model.

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My take on Ardeo is that it's "fine" but unexciting. I prefer the more casual Bardeo, although I wish they'd refresh the food menu as frequently as the wine options.

[PS I strongly disagree with that hooey about not ordering based on accoutrements. :P ]

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My take on Ardeo is that it's "fine" but unexciting.  I prefer the more casual Bardeo, although I wish they'd refresh the food menu as frequently as the wine options.

[PS I strongly disagree with that hooey about not ordering based on accoutrements. :P ]

could not agree with you more about bardeo. but i would add that i usually go late in service and have the cheese board and some wine, or just some wine at the bar. additionally bardeo, imho, has a more inviting, and sensual space than her big brother next door.

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Living behind Ardeo for about a year, I been there a handful of times, and my sentiments echo those of the earlier posts. Good food, not great with the exception of a great taglitatelle with a sage cream sauce which was a real delight one time. Service has always been ok. Never been to brunch though, I'll have to give that a try.

I'd say Ardeo is good for a nice meal if your in the area, but definitely not worth making a special trip across town.

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Brunch there is pleasant. Especially when you consider that there aren't many (any?) options in Cleveland Park. Palena has lunch on Saturday, yes, but what else is there?

I'd put it in the "moderate" category. Not cheap, but also not a $50 brunch-at-the Ritz either.

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Went here for Thanksgiving dinner, as Mrs. TJ and I were on our own for Thanksgiving on the offical day anyway. Already been to one major dinner with family and we have two more, one of which we host. Not wanting to cook for ourselves (even though we have just redone our kitchen big time) since we would have to prep and cook the rest of the weekend, we decided to eat out.

Ardeo did a pretty good job. They kept the menu reasonably limited and that may have helped. The pumpkin risotto itself was not all that inspiring, but the crispy duck confit sprinkled all over top was divine. Bites together were great. Mrs. TJ has some 'biscuits' with ham and oyster cream which smelled and tasted great. While Mrs. TJ opted for the traditional turkey thing, I went for some brisket with some herbed spaetzle. Very good. Very fall apart good and tasty. Desserts were just OK, but the coffee was GREAT. Bst cup of coffee at a restaurant that I have had in quite a while actually.

All in all an enjoyable meal.

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I find it interesting to read some of your posts about Ardeo. When my mother lived in Cleveland Park, we would go there all the time (especially since I ABSOLUTELY refused to go to Greenwoods!). I have NEVER had a bad meal there (or even meals of the quality that were described earlier). And I've always been impressed with the quality of food, presentation, and service. I agree that it may not be on the level of a Palena, Maestro, or Eve (all restaurants that I've been to more than a few times), but I don't think it deserves the criticisms that I've been reading (not to say that they aren't true).

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When was your last visit? For me, it's definitely a safe choice for when my parents are in town. The host Chad is wonderfully charming and the menu scares no one. But in this case, safe is usually walking hand-in-hand with boring IMO.

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When was your last visit?  For me, it's definitely a safe choice for when my parents are in town.  The host Chad is wonderfully charming and the menu scares no one.  But in this case, safe is usually walking hand-in-hand with boring IMO.

My last visit was during the summer for brunch. Dinner might have been during the spring.

I guess you have to consider the law of averages, but they have been consistantly great every time we've been. And again, I'm not saying that they are on the same level as Palena's chicken , Maestro's or Eve's tasting menu, Jarad's creme brulee, etc, but I've been consistanly pleased with the selection and creativity

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I hear that Ardeo has a new chef. While drinking a glass of wine at Ardeo tonight while waiting for bar space at Bardeo, I also heard...Outkast? Yes, we did. It was weird. Maybe they are, in marketing terms, repositioning? Dunno. I didn't catch the new chef's name, but did learn that he has spent some time in the kitchen at New York's Aureole.

Barman Dave spoke very highly of the new lobster dish. Also, General Manager Chad's semi-retirement was confirmed (which is old news, perhaps).

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While brunch may be the scrourge of humanity, for both cranky hungover patrons and crankier hungover cooks, the brunch pastry basket at Ardeo is a sobering delight.

Yesterday's featured house baked lemon-poppy muffins, scones and superlative cream-cheese spiral danish pastries. $7 no less!, and rooftop patio seating.

Cheers to the new chef and pastry chef and baked cheese.

Jeers to fusel alcohol.

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As far as I can tell, the Bardeo menu has changed. At least, what is listed on their website is different than what I had the last time that I ate there a couple of years ago.

Speaking of Ardeo/Bardeo, I had the pleasure of dining at Ardeo over the weekend. On a Saturday evening, they filled up nicely without being obnoxiously crowded and loud. Everyone in my party of seven ordered something different so we were able to sample off of each other's plates. I had the mahi mahi - which is seared and served on top of a curried cous cous speckled with dried apricots and blanketed with delicate almond foam. The fish was done perfectly - very moist and flavorful. However, I do have to say that my friend's venison dish was the high point of the evening for me. The cashew/cardamom puree that it is served with is good enough to eat by itself or spread on a slice of bread. (that gives me an idea...)

The cheese plate truly is something for the chef to be proud of. I should start out by saying that it's larger than any cheese plate that I've ever seen. There were three hard cheeses, and three softer varieties. The soft were: a goat, a gorgonzola/bleu and a super stinky and delicious cows milk cheese that was too gooey to pick up with a fork (this one was my favorite). The harder cheeses were a sheep cheese (comparable to manchengo), a cheddar variety and something else that I don't recall because I was too busy gorging myself on the aforementioned ultra-gooey and stinky cheese. Fresh fruit, quince paste and toasted bread accompanied the cheesy deliciousness.

I'm not very big on sweets, but I'm glad that I didn't skip dessert this time around. We tried seven different desserts - a few of my favorite offerings were the strawberry soup with lavender flan, espresso semifreddo with homemade biscotti, and a peanut butter bomb with homemade cracker jacks. All were delicious but my personal favorite was the trio of sorbets: pineapple, passion fruit and a scoop of incrediblely refreshing orange sorbet that was literally bursting with flavor. I think that I would have been happy with just the cheese plate and a huge bowl of that orange sorbet.

I've always enjoyed the wine selection at both Ardeo and Bardeo...you really can't go wrong! Thankfully, our server (Brian) knew what he was talking about when it came to "the juice" so that helped us make informed choices when pairing bottles with our food. Overall, we had a great meal and were pleasantly surprised at how affordable it was, considering the quality of the food.

I'll definitely be back...though, next time, I'm going to try their brunch.

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It Suffers By Comparison

So, after an unusual and entertaining evening of beer, pickled cheese, and marionettes at a nearby embassy, Mr. P and I were feeling a bit peckish and in the mood to hang out by ourselves for awhile. So we jogged 'round the corner for Palena, which still had a twenty minute wait at 9:00 tonight.

Foolishly unwilling to wait, we walked another few blocks to Ardeo, where everything was fine. Fine, but...

First, I ordered a Manhattan. I probably would have enjoyed it more if my previous restaurant Manhattan hadn't been made by the wonderful Tom Brown at Agraria. Come to think of it, before that my last Manhattan was made by Dishy Derek at Firefly. So, this was a very nice Manhattan, but nothing in comparison to whta's made by the Brothers Brown.

Next, fries. Mr. P was in the mood for fries - probably because we were denied at Palena. How were they? Fine, but they suffered by comparison - Mr. P was thinking Palena fries, and I, nursing my drink and thinking of Dishy Derek, was thinking of Firefly's fries.

Then we shared scallops. Six months ago Mr P wouldn't touch the things. Then, Michael Hartzer worked some magic, and now Mr P can't get enough of the second class treatment at Ray's. Heck, when we were at Corduroy a week ago, we even switched entrees so that he could have my scallops! How were Ardeo's? Fine, but... well, you get the drift. Now Mr P is dying to go back to RTS for the seafood.

It's a shame, because if we weren't so spoiled by the damn fine food we've had recently, we would have really enjoyed Ardeo. It was good. But it just wasn't good enough.

But there was hope for dessert.

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My family was in town last week and I made reservations at Ardeo based on Tom S's strong review. I have to say I was not terribly impressed. It was a Sunday, and maybe they were just having an off day. I tried most dishes on the table and nothing really blew me away. Salads were pretty solid and they did a nice presentation with their hamachi tartare. However, duck breast and pork tenderloin were both dry and relatively flavorless. I tried their signature dish of Mahi Mahi with almond foam, and the foam was too sweet for me--as was the tomato confit that accompanied my tenderloin. The strangest dish of the night was a 'lobster', vanilla, orange rissotto. Everyone else said it was "interesting"; I thought it was just plain wrong. The highlights of the meal were a nice affordable Cabernet and fennel ice cream that was out of this world. Seriously, the meal as a whole wasn't great but I would go back just for the ice cream.

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On a different note, had a great RW meal last night at Ardeo. They were a little hectic when we arrive at 8:00 and had to wait 15 min for our table, but once seated everything was smooth and delicious.

I've always been a big fan of Ardeo. What did you get?

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I've always been a big fan of Ardeo. What did you get?
There were four of us and we all got different stuff. I'll describe what I tasted (but there weren't any complaints):

Apps:

  • Asaparagus and Goatcheese fried thingy (it was kind of like a light eggroll batter) with a salad of mixed greens (nicely dressed and pretty peppery) all on top of a great tasting grilled piece of fennel. It also had some kind of dressing that had me sopping it up with bread.
  • Also had a bite of others mixed green salads which were ok - just like a bigger version of the salad part I had.
  • I didn't try but the calamari looked good. It is not fried but rather cooked and marinated with I think a citrus relish. I heard only hmm hmm hmm from across the table.

Entrees:

  • Lamb loin and shoulder. Very good and different. Really a duo of lamb. A small piece of loin with a nice seared crust on on side and some small sliced pieces that went well with the blackberry gastric sauce. The second part of the duo is the shoulder which is kind of like a mini hamburger - molded meat - but mixed with carrots and veggies. The loin was good, the shoulder only ok. It also comes with a great piece of eggplant rolled around some marinated chopped veggies.
  • My wife had the Steak which is big and cooked perfect. nice char flavor. Comes with creamy mash potatos and a nice reduction sauce to dip.
  • Others enjoyed the halibut and the gnocci (very tiny, very soft little pillows with lots of veggies).

Desserts:

  • My sweet tooth won out so I tried all 4. The best was probably the cherry cheesecake. It is a cross between American and Italian cheesecake - softer and less dense, but not all riccota-like. Great with the fruit.
  • Pear-upside down cake with caramel sauce and butter pecan ice cream was very good. The ice cream was great. The cake was moist and covered in pecans so it had more of nutty flavor than a fruity one. I couldn't really tell it was pear, but it didn't matter
  • Chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. Cake is BIG and a little dry. It is kind of like a molten cake but the outside could use a swipe through the ice cream or chocolate syrup on the plate.
  • Trio of sorbet. 3 big scoops last night of ginger-citron (too tart for me, but wife loved it), "blueberry herb" which is really good but heavy on the basil flavor with a fruit finish, and rasberry.

We also ordered one of their less expensive bourdeaux wines and the female sommelier/manager was nice enough to see if it was ok to make a substitution for a more expensive bottle since they were out of the ordered one and only charge us the lesser price. Nice touch. Overall a good experience, the staff seemed alittle overwhelmed though - but service wasn't affected.

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Had a really nice meal on Saturday with a big group of family who decided to all do the Opentable restaurant week-like 3 course meal so I got to taste a bunch of items. The stars were the kona kampachi and butternut squash crostini apps and the beef short rib and duck two ways. Also pretty good was the roasted chestnut soup although we were split between those who like it (me included) and those who didn't. The beef short rib was mine main course and it was very nice falling apart, but not too much, I just wish there was a bit more of the really good barolo reduction on the plate. Also worth mentioning is the grandanina - a coucous dish with lots of really good mushrooms - if you like mushrooms you'll love this dish. The desserts were good as always. The gelatos were very rich and creamy. My molten chocolate/date cake with quince jam and marscapone gelato was very very good except the quince jam on the side didn't go with it and I couldn't taste the figs. None of these defects took away from the gooey cake and nicely complementing marscapone gelato. The bread pudding was also pretty good and the chocolate souffle was small, but very rich. As always the service was very nice and accomodating.

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I hate starting off such an assertive post with a disclosure, but there is no choice. The other evening, a friend had some business to take care of with Ardeo management, and asked me to meet for dinner afterwards. I showed up early, was recognized as soon as I walked in, and went over to Bardeo to wait with a glass of wine. You can assume from this point forward that I got the “best of the best” that the kitchen had to offer that evening. So why am I writing about it at all? Read on ...

I was sitting at the bar at Bardeo, and ordered a glass of 2000 Verdu ($8, but discounted to $6 since it was before 7 PM). This Chateau Verdu is a nine-year-old Saint-Emilion from a great vintage, and $6 for a Bordeaux at this level (Bardeo gives large pours in good stemware) is almost unheard of. Unfortunately, they’re down to their last couple of bottles – this was probably a remnant of a distributor-closeout nabbed by Brent Kroll, who recently left Ardeo to become sommelier at its sister restaurant, The Oval Room.

As I waited, I noticed a young girl in chef’s whites walking over. She plopped something down in front of me, and said, “Here’s something to tide you over while you wait - it’s just a tuna slider.” I was caught off-guard and thanked her, then she left and I asked the bartender to make sure it got on the bill. After awhile, I cut it in half, tried it, and thought to myself, “huh?"

After awhile, the check was paid, and I found myself back over at Ardeo. I was extremely uncomfortable, mainly because I pretty much dissed Bombay Club just last week, and I don’t think Ashok Bajaj was very happy to see me. Still, I try to stay neutral, retain a sense of detachment, and just call ‘em like I see ‘em. My biggest fear was that this meal was going to be lousy, and I‘d have to do it again. I’d never tried Alex McWilliams’ menu (he just arrived about ten months ago), and as it turns out, he wasn’t even working, so I was at the mercy of the sous chef.

I ordered a bottle of 2006 Furst Pinot Gris ($36), and began nursing a glass. Suddenly, the young girl in chef’s whites appeared again with two plates. "“Here'’s a little amuse-bouche for you,” she said. It was an omelette of roasted tomato, fontina, and summer truffle. And then she disappeared back into the kitchen again.

Our wonderful server Alvaro came over, and said "it's something she improvised." There was a storm on the horizon.

Citrus Cured Scallops ($10), pineapple condiment, dehydrated ginger, and zenzero oilo

Peeky-Toe Crab Salad ($13), grapefruit gelee, avocado, micro mizuna

I thought sure Tony Conte had a hand in this menu, but Alvaro assured us that the menu was all Alex McWilliams. I was a little skeptical, because many items on this menu aren’t very “safe,” but the second the appetizers were brought out, all fears melted away. Both dishes were beautifully plated, and remarkable both for their individual components and the way they all knitted together. The grapefruit gelee in the peeky-toe salad in particular made the Pinot Gris soar. Although there are clear and distinct differences between these dishes and some of Conte’s, a comparison is both inevitable and legitimate, given that he works for the same company and that he loves serving cold shellfish salads. These were fantastic salads that absolutely held their own in comparison.

At this point, especially thinking back to the tuna slider and the omelette, I was pretty much dazzled, but I refused to remain optimistic.

“Why not, Don?”

“Because hot, larger plates were about to come, and that’s a big weed-out.”

Seared Ahi Tuna ($14), smoked tea crust, carnaroli rice and foraged mushroom cakes

Roasted Trout ($13), brussels sprout leaves, baby turnips, heirloom apple puree

A knife-fight ensued over the trout when these dishes arrived, but that’s only until I took a bite of the incredible tea-encrusted tuna. There was no doubt about it: A genius was in the kitchen, and was plating our food. These dishes were even better than the ones before, and I was in absolute awe of what I was experiencing. Who is this girl? Who is she and where did she come from?

After the course was finished, I asked Alvaro if the chef wouldn’t mind coming out to the table. A few minutes later, she arrived, and I did everything but bow down in front of her and kiss the ground. I asked her if she’d make one more dish, anything she wanted to make – I was not ready for this dinner to end.

She went back into the kitchen, and about fifteen minutes later, she arrived with two plates: “Braised beef short ribs with carrots and zucchini, served with their own sauces,” she said. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it, but then again so does brushing paint against a canvas, or running a bow across a violin string. This was a dish that would make any chef in the city shake their heads in disbelief. An exercise in simplicity and symmetry and perfect execution. How can grilled zucchini be so good? How can its own sauce be even better? There was nothing about this dish that I would have changed, and it was the crowning achievement on what was the best cooking I’ve had in recent memory.

She grew up in Chicago, in a restaurant family, her parents owning a chain of taco joints. She got sidetracked in cooking school, because she was offered a Chef de Cuisine position where she began attracting crowds and getting good reviews. She moved to the DC area with her husband a year ago, and has been quietly working as Sous Chef at Ardeo ever since.

I thanked her profusely for giving us her best stuff on this relatively slow evening. She smiled, but she didn’t say you’re welcome; “You didn’t get my best stuff,” she said, with a look of quiet confidence.

If someone were to ask me, last week, off the top of my head, who our city’s greatest chefs are under the age of 30, I would have been able to quickly name two: Johnny Monis from Komi, and Logan Cox from New Heights

But now I can name a third - someone who might be every bit their equal in the kitchen, someone with superstar potential who seems, at least to me, destined for greatness. One of our city’s most promising talents: the extraordinary 27-year-old wonderchild from Chicago, Diana Dávila Boldin.

This is a strong post about a meal that I should probably recuse myself from writing about. On the bill, there was a missing charge for one of the short ribs, although I suppose they could have been considered tasting portions, and there was no charge at all for a subsequent dessert course. A dollar-for-dollar addition was left on the tip.

A few years ago, one of my best friends was torn about buying a car. He was looking at a used BMW 528i, absolutely loved it, and asked me for advice. "My one hesitation," he said, "is that everyone around here drives a BMW, and I don't feel like being one of the herd."

"BMW is the real deal," I said. "It's a great car, and if you don't buy it because of 'image,' then you're just as superficial as people who do." Forget I wrote this about Ardeo if you will, but please, remember I said this about Diana. It would be wrong of me not to.

Cheers,

Rocks.

ETA - I found some articles about Diana's old restaurant, Hacienda Jalapeños: Chicago Sun-Times, Metromix (by the Chicago Tribune critic).

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we stopped by for some late night snacks this week and it was ok.....the seared tuna is very nice, as were the peeky toe crabcakes which were somewhat spoiled by a heavily salted salad/salad dressing. The bread pudding for dessert was a little dry.

One thing that really struck us was that the restaurant was completely empty (bar 1 table) at 9.15....

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I had an experience at Ardeo so lovely that I am coming out of my undisclosed location, body armor in place, to laud this place that I've wondered about over years of walking/driving by. What a remarkable block - Palena,Ardeo/Bardeo, Dino, and Lavandou (can't speak to the latter two as I haven't had the pleasure yet). Makes the immense parking hassle worthwhile.

It was Don's recent write-up that caused me to chose Ardeo for a very rare dinner out. Open Table said no tables within 2 hours of either side of 7:30 on Saturday or Sunday, but having found that Open Table may not have all tables available for reservations, I picked up the phone and called. I was glad I did. What an immensely gracious voice at the other end of the phone. Now, some of you know who that was, but I didn't. I was able to book for 2 at 7:30 on Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon, that same woman called to confirm my reservation (WOW - shades of Danny Meyer! I didn't know that such professionalism existed in this area, but then, I don't have the luxury of fine dining much, so apologies to any other restaurant I might have slighted). But it wasn't just that they confirmed, it was the warmth of that voice. It was clear that this restaurant values its customers.

At the door, I met the owner of that voice and it was none other than the famed Rissa Pagsibigan. She was so delightful and greeted me - a total stranger, as I've never been to Inox and she wasn't there on the two nights I visited the original Cordoroy - as a valued repeat customer. Every restaurant owner in town should send his maitre d' and other hosting staff to Ardeo for a meal to see how it SHOULD be done. She should open a school to train hosting staff. I have never in my life felt so welcome.

During the meal, she stopped by to check on us and chat.

The food was every bit as terrific as Rocks reported. I had the pear and dandelion salad, which made my mouth very happy. It was perfectly balanced and flavorful. Getting the ripeness of pears right is hard to do - in most cases, they are served hard and underripe in restaurants and sometimes they are mushy. These were just right - firm and full of flavor, so they held their own against the peppery dandelions. I also had the scallops cured in citrus (two apps rather than a main) and this was also perfectly balanced. It was such a beautiful plate, with the thinly sliced scallops lined up along a rectangular plate dotted with the ginger, pineapple condiment, and microgreens. I had the gelato drizzled with honey for desert - a small scoop of creamy gelato, accompanied by terrific spice cookies and chocolate truffles (real truffles - ganache balls rolled in cocoa power, not those hard-shelled, filled things).

Overall, service was as good as it gets - polite, professional, unobtrusive. The waiter was very patient with us as we chatted instead of getting to the menu. They were very patient with us even though we took two full hours during prime time, and had only two apps and one main (and one desert) between us.

This is fine dining. It is going to be really hard to resist making this the go-to on every one of the rare occasions when we go out!

Ellen

(heading back to the foxhole)

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Tonight my friends and I had a perfect meal at Ardeo/Bardeo. We made a meal of three starters and three medium plates. The dandelion/pear salad was divine. I never would have thought to try dandelion greens but now look forward to recreating the salad if I can find the greens. The pea/truffle fondue was like the best cheese dip you could ever conceive. While good, the salmon tartar was the only thing I wouldn't order again; it was an odd combination of flavors from squash to capers.

I had the crab cakes as my main course. The two dollar coin size cakes were incredible... the crab top-notch and the fresh corn a welcome change from breading. I had a half glass of a really nice Babcock pinot noir with my main course. I could not have been happier. My friends had a pasta dish that was nice and the skirt steak that looked great.

Oh and Rissa P. is the new GM...

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I am starting to think I might be a pushover, since I posted yesterday about a really nice dinner at Kora and here I am about to post about a really nice dinner at Ardeo. Maybe I am eager to applaud. But then I remember that there are plenty of restaurants that I go to, that I don't post about. I guess I've just been lucky these last two nights.

So, wow what really wonderful food at Ardeo tonight. Even the salads (one with dandelion, pear and a rose-flavored vinaigrette, the other a plain old mixed green) were delicious and flavorful. Trout, gnocchi, tea-smoked tuna, yellow bean fondue, all great. Yum. (All of the above, after the salads, were the "medium plates"; the waiter suggested getting more of these rather than fewer entrees, and I think this was a good suggestion.)

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Went for brunch today with SO and an old friend from Boston. No valet parking, so we slipped into a ZipCar spot and almost got towed. The food and ambience were exceptional. The granola with vanilla yogurt was nicely presented, because the yogurt was hidden under a complex granola but was a bit sweet. The squash blossom omelette featured nicely balanced flavors of goat cheese and seasonal vegetables. The Florentine (without Hollandaise) was excellent, especially the beautiflly poaced eggs and a yummy jelly. Fennel sausage was great. The English muffin was pleasingly thin and did not overwhelm the dish. Service was attentive, efficient, but not overbearing. Would gladly return for the food but not the parking. They only valet park for dinner.

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If someone were to ask me, last week, off the top of my head, who our city’s greatest chefs are under the age of 30, I would have been able to quickly name two: Johnny Monis from Komi, and Logan Cox from New Heights

But now I can name a third - someone who might be every bit their equal in the kitchen, someone with superstar potential who seems, at least to me, destined for greatness. One of our city’s most promising talents: the extraordinary 27-year-old wonderchild from Chicago, Diana Dávila Boldin.

According to Tom Sietsema, she's going to Jackie's.

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This neighborhood spot is underrated, and we came away from a recent visit with a resolution to try to eat here more often. We had a wonderful meal with great service. We were there early enough (before 6:45 pm), to enjoy their $28 dinner 3-course prix-fixe comprised of certain appetizers or small plate course, entree, and dessert. Tried a variety of items: squid ink risotto with calamari (bold flavors, rich with perfectly cooked calamari), tuna tartare with quail egg (fresh, light, predictable but flavorful), gnocchi with gorgonzola (a good version), a carrot/mascarpone ravioli with mushrooms, peas and pearl onions (delightful and surprising winner of the nite, a perfect spring pasta dish), succulent short ribs over mashed potatoes with baby roasted purple and orange carrots (nothing surprising but tasty), and scallops over a celeriac puree (also nothing surprising but well executed, perfectly cooked). For desserts: blueberry lemon crumble, chocolate truffle cake, and the banana split with praline gelato and banana cake croutons. The portions are generous for the price. On a spring evening, with the windows open and seating near alfresco, it was just a lovely, pleasant dinner with good food.

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After a long hiatus from DC I happily returned last night to a very pleasant experience at the newly refashioned Ardeo/Bardeo. The renovation was a success, IMO. The Ardeo side is refreshed, and seems more hip but also more welcoming. I like the center bar, and being able to see the pizza oven and the former Bardeo side.

I didn't get to try some of the things I wanted to try because we ordered as a group and made choices to please everyone, but there were some outstanding dishes. The salad with the smoked trout (don't remember the exact menu name) was glorious - beautiful presentation and a blast of lively flavors. The octopus small plate was also phenomenal - char grilled octopus on top of some smashed lemony potatoes. The salad and this octopus would be a great light meal on their own. I also tasted the veal ragu which was good. The pasta had a great texture but the ragu was slightly less robust than I thought it would be. Wasn't blown away by the flatbread - a rather ordinary pizza on an industrial-tasting crust. With so much that sounded exciting on the menu, I'd skip the flatbread next time.

The service was friendly and efficient. The place was very quiet until about 7:30, and then it became very lively, but not overly loud. I would like to return to try some of the fish dishes and more of the small plates. I always liked both Ardeo and Bardeo, but last night delivered on a higher level than before. Nice evening!

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We were there last week and had a very good meal. My husband had the charred octopus which he loved. My risotto balls were outstanding. We both had the kingklip fish (whatever that is). I liked it a lot, but my husband thought it was boring. Our friend had gnocchi and he liked it very much. We liked the energy of the place (we were there Saturday night for 7pm reservation) and will return soon. We live in Arlington and we rarely venture out of our own restaurant cocoon. Ardeo is worth the venturing.

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We both had the kingklip fish (whatever that is). I liked it a lot, but my husband thought it was boring.

It's a type of eel. Harris Teeter featured it last year and asked for feedback. I bought some, not having any idea what it was, and was really not impressed. Calling Paul Prudhomme! :)

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It's a type of eel. Harris Teeter featured it last year and asked for feedback. I bought some, not having any idea what it was, and was really not impressed. Calling Paul Prudhomme! :)

Coming out of hiding for the second time, and again to sing the praises of Ardeo. But first - yes, kingklip is a type of eel, very popular in South Africa, and also in Chile, where it is known as congrio. As a fan of kingklip, I was giving serious thought to ordering this dish, but guilt overcame me. So instead I ordered the white sweet potato soup with the lavender & rosemary crouton. Good to the last drop. That's often not the case with soups, where you get bored half way through. It could have been served a tad warmer, but otherwise, just wonderful for a cold rainy night. Followed by the salad of endive, bibb, and trout. I love a good, fresh salad, lightly dressed, and this one fit the bill. I deliberately ordered light because Ardeo has good desserts, and I had asked to see the dessert menu before ordering. I was having trouble deciding among a dozen different items, and knowing in advance if I'd want dessert helped me to chose. So I had the warm spiced ginger cake topped with ginger creme and accompanied by a small scoop of orange sorbet, with a drizzle of caramel on the plate. A perfect dessert. My companion had the roast chicken with farro. She enjoyed it immensely. With a glass of merlot for me and a cocktail for her, the tabs were a mind-blowing $38 each. You can eat very well here without blowing the budget.

Among the many things I like about Ardeo is the portion size. Quality really is more important than quantity. We find ourselves sharing one entree in most restaurants, which often means that one of us doesn't get his/her first choice. Not necessary here. The portions are reasonable.

Service was wonderful. Rissa wasn't there (maybe she's moved on?) but the young host was just terrific. He was obviously schooled well in the art of making guests feel welcome. Gillian (?) was friendly and enthusiastic. She obviously enjoys working there and that makes the diner feel assured that all will go well. What really amazed me was how sweet she was when, at the end of the meal, we realized we'd forgotten to tell her we were going dutch. No problem, she said. The new computer system makes it very easy to give each diner a check for exactly what they ordered. That is perfect for large parties or situations when some have ordered expensive and others have not.

Due to utility work at Porter, it took a 1/2 hour to drive from Albemarle to Macombe, but we actually found a space on Connecticut. Only to learn that they do have valet, for $6.00 (well worth it in the parking hell that is Cleveland Park). One wonders where they park the cars? Maybe in Tenleytown?

Bottom line: Ardeo is on my very short list of restaurants that are worth my money. Repeatedly.

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I went to Ardeo/Bardeo this weekend. Service was great which made the night because the food was engh. I am a bit concerned that the server told us that Kingplip tasted like scallops but was a white fish. If it is a type of eel that should be disclosed, imho, because a diner might keep "American" Kosher (i.e. eat out but avoid treif) or may just not like eel (shocking but true). None of us ordered it so no real cause for alarm... but it will make me ask what species a fish I don't recognize is in the future.

Now for the food... it was not memorable at all and the flatbread was bad. The flatbread is pizza and not flatbread. The crust, as an earlier poster pointed out, is not good. The mushroom pizza tasted like an open faced grilled cheese sandwich with a few mushrooms mixed in for contrast.

ETA: Rissa doesn't work at Ardeo/Bardeo anymore.

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I went to Ardeo/Bardeo this weekend. Service was great which made the night because the food was engh. I am a bit concerned that the server told us that Kingplip tasted like scallops but was a white fish. If it is a type of eel that should be disclosed, imho, because a diner might keep "American" Kosher (i.e. eat out but avoid treif) or may just not like eel (shocking but true). None of us ordered it so no real cause for alarm... but it will make me ask what species a fish I don't recognize is in the future.

I do eat American kosher as you call it and so when we went to Ardeo on Saturday night, we avoided the kingklip since we didn't recognize the species. However, after hearing the good reviews above I checked out it status and came across an article or two showing that kingklip is clearly not an eel, but a traditional fish and most, but not all rabbis say it is kosher. So depending on how strict kosher you are, give it a try next time. I think I will.

As for our dining experience, I have to disagree with the statements that the desserts are still so good. Yes, I agree they were fabulous in the past and somewhat sophisticated/complex. Now, the dessert menu is more homey with apple cobbler, molten chocolate cake, etc. Not any less good in its own right, but different (for instance before they had a chocolate date cake and panna cottas, etc.). The two desserts we had were duds I'm sad to say. The ginger spice cake was very very dry and was piled with way to much whipped cream to hide the fact. The orange sherbert that came with it was good though. The other dessert was the apple cobbler with rum raisin ice cream - the ice cream was ok, pretty strong rum flavor which I didn't like. The cobbler itself was constructed well, but the undisclosed addition of star anise (I had to check with the waitress) was a badly executed attempt to be different - the anise flavor was so strong it overpowered the apple and just didn't go. I hope the pastry chef keeps working the desserts and they get back to the old, great level quality Ardeo's desserts used to have.

The rest of the meal was hit or miss, which may also be reorganizing/growing pains (we live in the neighborhood and always really liked 90% of the dishes here on the many times we went). The good: risotto balls with a light tomato sauces spiked with capers - very fresh, only lightly fried with a lot of risotto flavor (as opposed to the suppli at 2 Amys that are good, but taste more fried, then cheesey, whole lamb shank confit on the bone with citrus yogurt and gremolata-like topping - really tasty, sauce complemented the meet alot, and really big - enough for 2 to share as an entree.

The so so: cauliflower side cooked in the wood oven - cauliflower was only half-cooked, not carmelized at all similar to when its roasted, but the parmesan bread crumb topping was very good - it was a shame though you had to keep spooning it on top of the vegetable to combine the flavor, otherwise it just fell off onto the plate. salt cod fritters - which like the waitress told us, look and tasted like fish sticks and not really that much better than most freezer fish sticks - I liked the mayo slaw with capers, but my wife thought the whole dish failed.

Crossing my fingers that Ardeo will work out the kinks and get its quality back up to snuff in its new, more casual setting.

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I do eat American kosher as you call it and so when we went to Ardeo on Saturday night, we avoided the kingklip since we didn't recognize the species. However, after hearing the good reviews above I checked out it status and came across an article or two showing that kingklip is clearly not an eel, but a traditional fish and most, but not all rabbis say it is kosher. So depending on how strict kosher you are, give it a try next time. I think I will.

You are probably right about the kosher thing. Kingklip refers to several species in the genus Genypterus which is "cusk eel" and in turn, cusk eels are "eel-like fishes." If it has fins and scales, it is kosher. They have fins (well, one fin), and very small scales, so according to the laws of mishigas, ess gezunterhait!

As for our dining experience, I have to disagree with the statements that the desserts are still so good.

You are right - I overstated by saying desserts (plural) when I had only one.

Yes, I agree they were fabulous in the past and somewhat sophisticated/complex. Now, the dessert menu is more homey with apple cobbler, molten chocolate cake, etc. Not any less good in its own right, but different (for instance before they had a chocolate date cake and panna cottas, etc.). The two desserts we had were duds I'm sad to say. The ginger spice cake was very very dry and was piled with way to much whipped cream to hide the fact.

Weird. We were there the same night and had the same item. Mine was definitely not dry at all. And there was just a small dollop of creme. Not doubting you at all, just giving more specifics about my experience.

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Okay so earlier this week I stopped by Ardeo/Bardeo and expressed my disappointment in the "flatbread." I had a very constructive conversation with the Chef who understood that I had expected "flatbread" and not pizza. The restaurant was struggling with heat in the oven he said. I told him that I wanted flatbread not pizza.

Well... fast forward to this evening where I repeated the dinner I had Friday night. Wow... seriously that flatbread was good. The new version has a very crisp, thin crust... a true flatbread though in the shape of a pizza. The mushrooms were deliciously earthy and the fontina cheese did not overwhelm the mushrooms. I also had the same salad which I liked Friday night as well... it's a chopped salad with winter root veggies. I substitute the dressing with the fig dressing on the menu and all I have to say is Wowza.

Pleased with the flatbread, I decided to order some charchutrie... the truffled lamb was divine and melted like butter.

So, I suggest the others on the list who didn't love their experience at the renewed Ardeo/Bardeo should give it another shot. Looking forward to a return trip.

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So, I suggest the others on the list who didn't love their experience at the renewed Ardeo/Bardeo should give it another shot.

BTW, the new restaurant is officially called "Ardeo + Bardeo," and offers one menu throughout the entire space, no matter where you sit.

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Tom Sietsema breaks the news (as he usually does with Ashok's restaurants (*)) that chef Alex McWilliams has been replaced by Nate Garyantes.

Says Ashok in the article, ""I want to be known as the best restaurant in the neighborhood."

Cheers,

Rocks.

(*) Although I can tell you to be on the lookout for an exciting new GM here. :)

Well so hear comes the menu changes too. I went back about two weeks ago for a second visit and already there were some changes. The "flatbreads" were now called pizzas on the menu and the tomato basil one we had was very nice. Very thin crust (which could use a pinch more salt for flavor) topped with very fresh ingredients of tomato, basil and mozzarella. Good size for value too - my wife and I shared it as an entree along with our apps. For apps, my wife had a second time the risotto balls and really loved them again. We hope they stay on the new chef's menu as they are one of the winning dishes so far. I had the smoked trout salad that others on the board recommended and it was indeed very nice - hopefully that will stay too. I can't wait to see what items replace the weak ones.

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