Not quite downtown, yet not all the way in Georgetown, just off Pennsylvania Avenue NW right by K Street lies the Melrose Hotel. Recently remodeled providing a very upscale, modern yet comfortable environment, the Jardenea restaurant is clean, simple, and elegant. Close enough to downtown for a client lunch, and certainly a must for dinner, add Jardenea to your regular rotation for a seasonally changing menu, exceptional and attentive service, and extremely delicious food.
Start with the avocado and lobster “BLT” which is a stacked salad, not a sandwich, and is incredibly light and whimsical. Sliced fresh heirloom tomatoes provide a bed for hydro bibb lettuce, which holds the perfectly cooked, rich, lobster meat, and ripe avocado topped with a pancetta crisp, and crispy crostini. The Cesar salad and seared scallops are also great starters.
Moving on to the entree course, the menu is broken into “Flight, Fields, Fins, and Farms” using only local and freshly sourced ingredients whenever possible. Try the cripy skinned duck breast served with mergueze (lamb) sausage, braised local kale, over a rich and deep black eye pea cassoulet. While I wish the duck skin was crispier (seemed like the fat wasn’t rendered enough), the dish as a whole was very well balanced with a very developed flavor profile that was extremely complimentary to the duck.
The half chicken with ham hock braised collard greens and a fresh au jus is also amazing, as is the beef fillet or yam gnocchi. The fresh ingredients and posh environment make for a great overall experience.
Where: Jardenea in the Melrose Hotel, 2430 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007. Online.