Surprise, Surprise. Those were the words ringing in our heads as we ate at Ardeo/Bardeo. Funny we have passed these two spots a zillion times and never once ventured in to see and taste. The new question is why did we wait so long?? Ardeo/Bardeo are the sister restaurants that stand side by side on Connecticut Avenue: Ardeo is the total restaurant experience while Bardeo is more of a wine bar. Cute. We love how the two compliment one another; Ardeo allows for hushed tones and a romantic evening while Bardeo equates to time with a close friend or two for cocktails.
The vibe of Ardeo/Bardeo is relaxed. We felt like we were back home in New York at one of the many modest, low key restaurants that permeate the city. Not too much but not too little. The food and not the attire or a long wait time make the restaurant stand out. After having to ex our plans for 1789 due to unforeseen circumstances, we decided we would try Ardeo/Bardeo because it was also on our (*long) list of places to visit in the District.
Their restaurant week menu had some decent selections with butternut squash soup and couple of variations of salad for starters. Medium plates and entrees ranged from peeky-toe crab cakes (*they were out when we visited…) to the cider braised beef short ribs. We decided on the butternut squash soup and the sweet potato-mascarpone ravioli. Excellent decisions. The butternut squash soup was highlighted with a hint of vinegar that made the whole tasting experience bitter sweet, ironically a great combination. The ravioli however, is what captivated our attention. We usually don’t go for these types of dishes (*They give you like 5 raviolis, how is that filling?!) and especially sweeter dishes but something told us to go for it. Glad we did because the sweet potatoes combined with the cheese and mushroom butter cream sauce was absolutely delicious.
It’s been awhile since we’ve been able to rave about the food that we’ve had at a restaurant which is why we are so elated to have discovered Ardeo/Bardeo (*We know, we’re late). The service was as it should have been: attentive and polite (*In these times, who could ask for anything more??). We give them two thumbs up for their menu selections for Restaurant Week 2010. This is what a restaurant is supposed to do (*and many don’t…): highlight actual items that you sell on your menu. We don’t want to go during Restaurant Week, have a great dish and when we return after Restaurant Week a restaurant is like “Oh, that dish was only on here for Restaurant Week”. We want to see the real you. For Ardeo/Bardeo, if this is the real you, we look forward to getting to know you better.
*One disappointment: The dessert. We had the banana cake that was supposed to have a carmelized topping but the whole dish was cold…we’re confused? We thought carmelized (*at a restaurant) should have been on the warmer side of things…