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Restaurant Week August 2008 – Review – Ardeo (1 of 2)

August 20th, 2008 by Brooke

Last week was DC’s Restaurant Week – an event that brings even the most reluctant foodies out to enjoy a chance to eat at a swanky restaurant for a “bargain” price. This year, the price, after remaining the same the last seven years shot up to $35.08. The truth is, it’s not that much of a bargain once you factor in that I rarely order desert in real life and I tend to order a few glasses of wine with every meal out. Either way, it’s damn fun to have an excuse to eat with abandon, and this time, I treated myself to two dinners.

1. Ardeo (Cleveland Park) – went here with Brandi (and Becky!). The place is full of, shall we say, older people and it breaks my cardinal rule of hip eatery: “You may have either carpet or tablecloths but never, ever both.” I loathe both because of the country club vibe. Nonetheless, our waiter took an interest in our mutual avoidance of wheat gluten and checked twice with the chef about what was safe or unsafe for our mains and sides. I ordered pork loin with carrot-ginger risotto. First, the waiter returned to tell me to steer clear of the risotto and, when I suggested polenta instead, he bustled back to tell me risotto was fine – the chef would make adjustments.

We had various delicious and intricate salads to start – sweet, savory, and refreshing. High marks all around. For their mains, Brandi and Becky both ordered fish – halibut and butterfish, respectively, and the entrees were all fantastic. We scarfed down every last bite (I think the butterfish was best in show) but my risotto, if it was to be trusted as gluten-free, was fragrant and pungent with ginger and citrus and I still conjure up the taste of it.

The big downturn in the meal was that our waiter began disappearing for half-hours on end, and we dragged through the tail end of our service with a minor annoyance. After dinner, we poked our heads in next door at Bardeo and it’s still as cute as ever. We didn’t have time to stay, but I have been there before and I would certainly go back; on a weeknight you can see and hear your comrades but you’re still downtown in a place with good ambiance.

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