When Alix and I refer to being from New York, people immediately conclude we grew up in the city. We always shrug our shoulders and break it to others that we’re currently closer to New York City than we were growing up. Where we grew up the “city”, or rather Main Street in the village, is only about 2-3 blocks long, and instead of skyscrapers there are several farms that produce amazing food that find their way into homes year round. Our upbringing is probably why we are so attracted to the farm-to-table and farm-to-fork concepts in Washington, DC. Jardenea, located in Georgetown’s Melrose Hotel, is just the latest restaurant on this growing list that we’ve had the pleasure to try.
While some farm-to-fork restaurants are wide-open with lots of lighting, Jardenea takes a different approach with a more intimate interior. When you enter the Melrose Hotel you might even miss the restaurant off to the right. Diners should also expect to see a revolving seasonal menu, since several of the items aren’t available year round.
With Alix spending the summer on the farm in Western New York, I was dining solo on this trip, but was thinking I had found another wonderful place for a date. Starting with the cocktail menu I opted for the waiters’ recommendation of a Peaches and Rye and later the Cucumber & Basil Collins. If you’re a whiskey fan the first is a great warmer weather option, while basil-lovers can’t go wrong with the second.
Chef Nate Lindsay was generous enough to run through the menu with me and provided insights of his favorite dishes. At his recommendation, I ordered both the Crown Orchards Chilled Peach Soup and the Hummingbird Farms Trio of Tomatoes. It was pushing 90 degrees outside, which created the perfect environment for these two refreshing dishes. If you only order one dish on the menu you’d be crazy to not get the Trio of Tomatoes, as this dish included a stewed watermelon salad that left a lasting impression.
Though several items are seasonal, the Coriander Dusted Hawaiian Sea Bass can be found year-round. This dish features blue corn grits, which Chef Lindsay says he never turns down at a restaurant. I’ve been turned off by sea bass in the past after a couple bad experiences, but this was not one of those times. The sea bass, which rested on the blue corn grits, was incredible.
For dessert: Jardenea Toasted S’mores. A piece of chocolate hallowed out and then filled with chocolate mousse is then covered with a house-made toasted marshmallow and a graham cracker resting on it’s side made for the perfect conclusion to this dining experience.
Jardenea is a worth a visit. In addition to just providing a great experience, they offer a special menu for theater goers the next time you’re in town for a show.