Friday, July 31, 2015


At Jardenea, the local farm is the main inspiration for Executive Chef Lindsay to showcase how fresh foods bring health and well-being to your life and insure we leave the land for the next generation. The philosophy exudes a deep affinity for farm fresh products that minimize our carbon footprint. The modern American menu highlights products sourced from sustainable farms, fisheries, foragers and artisans that believe in this healthy vision.  Located in the Melrose Georgetown Hotel, the closest Metro is Foggy Bottom.

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Designed with a cool color palate of calming grays, clean lines, bold patterns and dramatic artwork, Jardenea presents an inventive and intimate environment. With a communal table, fresh herb centerpieces and vintage plates, the dining room itself is a bit hidden on the far right of the hotel's entrance, but the décor evokes a rustic modern feel. Glass-top and hardwood linen-less table tops support their environmental commitment, and the seasonal outdoor patio offers a natural, sky-lit ambiance.  Keith and I enjoyed an early pre-theater dinner here before catching a show at the Kennedy Center.  For $44 each, we chose a starter, main, and dessert from a small selection on the menu.

I chose the Chesapeake Bay Crab Bisque to start.  The soup itself was very light, almost too watery to be called a bisque.  Perhaps, it was the summer interpretation.  It was studded with lump crab eat and Basciani Farms shiitake mushrooms, and topped with a swirl of chive oil.  I wanted to like this dish, but it was lackluster and very disappointing.

Keith chose a better option with the Grilled Barren Island Oysters.  Topped with breadcrumbs, chipotle-tarragon butter, and lime gremolata, these oysters had great flavor.

For his main dish, Keith ordered the Grass Fed Filet of Beef.  It was beautifully plated with white truffle dauphinoise potatoes, haricot verts, and a shallot demi-glace. The sauce was too plain for his liking.  He much prefers more bold spices and seasonings on his meat.  Nevertheless, it was all cooked well.  The potatoes - thinly sliced and baked with lots of butter - were quite decadent, and after a few bites though, the truffle became overpowering.

For my main, I enjoyed an exquisitely cooked piece of Coriander Dusted Hawaiian Sea Bass.  The top was slightly crispy with the middle lightly cooked and meaty.  Served on a bed of soft organic blue corn grits, with haricot verts and grape tomatoes, and a drizzle of Chapel's Country Bay Blue Vin Blanc.  I thought my dish was seasoned perfectly, and a great portion.  

We ended with dessert.  We ordered one of each, so we could share, naturally.  The Butterscotch Crème Brûlée was very thick in texture and made with soft cinnamon Chantilly, then topped with fresh berries.  I could only eat a few bites as I found it a bit too sweet, so Keith finished the rest.

We also shared the Warm Dark Chocolate Lava Cake.  Yes, I know what you're thinking.  It is not as exciting as it was back in the 80s, but I like this basic dessert.  Served with vanilla bean speck ice cream, I love the classic combination of chocolate and vanilla, with both hot and cold temperatures competing with each other on the pallate.  You can't go wrong here, and it was a nice ending to our meal.

While the ingredients were fresh, the food was a bit flat and dated in conception.  Keith compared it to the 'expensive wedding dinner option'.  I was worried the pre-theater selections would be too limiting, or the portions be too small, but actually it was quite opposite.  Service was attentive, yet not overburdening.  The ambience is typical of a hotel restaurant, yet being tucked in the corner disguised any distractions from the hotel lobby.

Total Rating: 3.1
Food: 3, Price: 2.5, Service: 4, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Chesapeake Bay Crab Bisque
Basciani Farms Shiitake Mushrooms, Sherry Cream, Chive Oil

Coriander Dusted Hawaiian Sea Bass
soft organic blue corn grits, Chapel's Country Bay Blue Vin Blanc

Butterscotch Crème Brûlée
Soft Cinnamon Chantilly, Fresh Berries

Plus Keith ate:
Grilled Barren Island Oysters
chipotle-tarragon butter, lime gremolata

Grass Fed Filet of Beef
white truffle dauphinoise potatoes, haricot verts, shallot demi-glace

Warm Dark Chocolate Lava Cake
Vanilla Bean Speck Ice Cream

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