New Ardeo+Bardeo Chef Embraces Hyperlocal Produce
There’s a new face in the kitchen at Ardeo+Bardeo, and he’s not afraid to push the limits of traditional dishes!
Chef Jonathan Dearden took over as executive chef in July, and his impact on this modern American bistro is already shining through. Jonathan has led kitchens around the world, most notably at Jade Mountain Resort, the luxury travel destination in St. Lucia. During his time at the resort, he was actively involved in managing the 30-acre organic farm.
So, he’s right at home with the plentiful fresh produce coming from Ardeo’s expanded rooftop garden. It’s been in operation for over five years, growing staples like tomatoes and herbs.
This year, they introduced cucumbers, eggplant, squash, cabbage, okra and watermelon. It’s a group effort, with harvesting and watering duties shared between Jonathan and a few staff members.
While they don’t officially track their harvests, Jonathan estimates that they pulled in around 50 pounds of produce in July. His new menu takes full advantage of this hyperlocal bounty.
I had a chance to check out some of the seasonal masterpieces, and I was incredibly impressed with the creativity and the culinary technique that went into these dishes.
Jonathan’s self-professed love of heirloom tomatoes is evident in his Heirloom Tomato Salad. The juicy fruit is the star: whipped goat cheese, mâche, pickled blackberries and almond brittle (yes, almond brittle!) enhance the flavor without overpowering it.
The Short Rib Tartare was fascinating because of the egg yolk emulsion underneath the meat – creamy, and delicate, but packed with flavor. It was accompanied by a sea bean chimichurri and crispy onions. Sea beans were an ingredient I hadn’t ever encountered, but Jonathan explained that they are greens foraged from shorelines or marshes.
Another delightful puree graced this plate of Vadouvan Roasted Red Snapper. The corn puree only had one ingredient, but it tasted like thick, sweet grits. Perfect to complement the lollipop kale succotash and the peach agra dolce. The snapper was expertly seasoned and cooked.
If there was a theme for this tasting menu, it was unique liquids. In between two Wagyu Beef Bavette Steaks (obviously deliciously succulent) atop fingerling potatoes and baby summer squash, was what Jonathan dubbed a “bone marrow tater tot.” He prepared a custard from the bone marrow and breaded and deep fried it until the outside was crispy, while the inside remained gooey (in the best way). Incredibly rich, but completely worth the calories.
Finally, the dessert sampling, featuring Lemon-Vanilla Chiffon Cake, Orange Vanilla Gelato, Blueberry Tart and Chocolate Mousse. I’m always a sucker for chocolate, but the blueberry tart stole the show because again, Jonathan let the fruit’s natural flavor shine through.
I can’t wait to see (and taste) Jonathan’s next innovations – these have definitely put Ardeo+Bardeo at the top of my list of go-to restaurants!
Now’s the perfect time to try some of these dishes yourself: just 3 more days left in RAMW Restaurant Week, so hurry and make your reservation!
3311 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20008