Tom Sietsema isn't quite ready to call Ardeo + Bardeo the best restaurant in Cleveland Park, but the newly renovated member of the Ashok Bajaj empire has captured his attention. The Washington Post critic awarded the restaurant with 2.5 stars thanks to a new menu from Nate Garyantes, formerly of Minibar. And it sounds as though a stop here is a whirlwind trip around the globe. First Mexico:
"Then there's the chicken soup. It's unexpected — and marvelous. The deep bowl of tender chicken, hominy, sliced avocado and green chili broth pulsing with heat is both beautiful and deeply comforting: Mexico as summoned by Martha Stewart."
"Can't afford Italy? Garyantes's pastas bring Italy to you. Forced to choose only one from the handful, I'd opt for house-made black pepper fettuccine tossed with braised shredded pork shoulder. It's tangy with tomato, sweet with onion and garnished with a crisp sail of fried pancetta. Sauteed gnocchi make a cameo appearance in a very good salad of spinach and braised fennel dressed with a frothy truffle vinaigrette."
Sietsema had a few complaints — a weird floor, flavorless fried chicken and inconsistent lemon meringue pie — but mostly it looks like another Bajaj success story. [WaPo]
Todd Kliman took an early look at Hill Country for the Washingtonian and dubbed its moist brisket the best barbecue in the DC area. But he had a few critiques: "I also loved a link of sausage from the famous Kreuz market in Lockhart (the casing pops when you pierce it, revealing a fine-grained, well-spiced sausage inside). A Cornish hen, cooked in the beer-can manner advocated by some grill masters, was tasty, if not particularly memorable. The ribs are massive, but invariably the thick, meaty side was tender and juicy, while its opposite was dry. (Note to the pitmaster: The ribs, the moist brisket, and prime rib were all too salty, and the lean and prime rib were also slightly oversmoked.)" [Washingtonian]
The Washingtonian's Kate Nerenberg also checks out DC Empanadas in further pimpage of the magazine's Food Truck Fight: "the outside crust was still crackly, and the filling was also piping hot. However, the empanadas could have benefited from some extra time in the fryer—under the wrapper's crispy exterior was a layer of still-uncooked dough."
Stefanie Gans from the Washington City Paper checks out DC's addition to the raw food scene, Elizabeth's Gone Raw. Though initially skeptical, the critic finds that the meal leaves her feeling full and impressed: "Even if not every dish succeeds at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, it’s worth just admiring the composition, technical skill, and creativity in what’s being served." [WCP]
THE BLOGS: On this beautiful day, We Love DC says that Zorba's is tops for outdoor eating; Mango & Tomato liked her brunch at Ted's Bulletin, but felt it didn't meet expectations; DC-Wrapped Dates calls Eola "an instant best meal in DC."
Ardeo + Bardeo [Photo: Andrew Lightman]