Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ardeo + Bardeo Food Review

Char-broiled Natural Beef Burger

A recent fixture on Washingtonian's 100 Very Best Restaurants list, Ardeo + Bardeo is a neighborhood hotspot I pass by at least twice (often more) a day. For no particular reason, I haven't been back since its $1 million renovation back in 2011; and decided to "bite the bullet" and order carry out. Carry out? Sure, why not? Just because Ardeo + Bardeo looks great, doesn't mean I can't judge it on food alone. Besides, odds are I'll be back for Sunday Brunch (try ordering that to go) and I still feel funny ordering a burger from a really nice restaurant.

I telephoned on impulse, and ordered their popular Char-broiled Natural Beef Burger... still a bargain at $14 (with French fries.) In previous visits (date nights, missions to impress) I went with more sophisticated options; but I've heard lots of positive feedback on this burger... and I had to make sure I wasn't missing a Top 5 caliber sandwich.

French Fries

The young lady who answered the telephone was very nice, and more than happy to take my order (I wasn't 100% sure that they offered take away, at all.) She asked how I wanted my meat cooked (nice detail) and told me my order would be ready in 10 minutes. Speedy too, I'm impressed. I arrived closer to 20 minutes later (just in case they were on nearby Vace time) and stepped through the curtains (no more walls, after all.) I'm not a big fan of curtains, but it makes sense for folks dining in (or at the bar.) The hostess warmly greeted me, and handed me a server's pad with the check. I handed her a $20 bill and she slipped it inside the pad, and gave it to the bartender: I told the hostess that I didn't need change, and she passed me a brown bag, closed shut.

I walked home (I live literally five doors away) and unwrapped my "care package." Kudos for smart, individual packaging. My burger was still nice & warm, and the fries were in pretty good shape. On looks alone, Ardeo's burger is quite impressive. The natural beef patty appeared to weigh more than ½ lb., and the meat was perfectly cooked as requested (MEDIUM.) Ardeo uses soft brioche buns, and omitted the pimento cheese as asked. My only complaint, was a very light (almost nonexistent) application of bacon jam (one of my favorites.) Taste-wise, I had no complaints. The beef had lots of flavor, although more bacon would have added a hint of salt that would have made it that much better. It's not Top 5 material, but worth its fanfare all the same.

Fries were hand-cut and lightly crispy (I don't think they double-fry here... pity.) Still nice & tasty though, and just enough of them to balance the big burger. Ordering fries to go is risky business (they usually get soggy fast) but Ardeo has nothing to worry about: They were all gone in two minutes flat.

Ardeo + Bardeo remains a better bet for dining in; but I can finally say I've had one of their burgers (even if it was via take away.) Service (what little I needed) was impeccable, and I'm excited about coming back for more.

Atmosphere: B+ (It's really nice inside... great place to take a date.)
Burger: B+ (Perfectly cooked, nice flavor and BIG.)
Bun/Toppings: B (Good sized bun with visible grill marks. However, not enough bacon jam.)
Fries: B- (I prefer crispier.)
Value: B ($14 sounds like a lot for a burger/fries; but this isn't McDonald's.)
Overall: B (Cross it off my bucket list, with a recommendation for others to try it too.)