Jardenea at the Melrose Hotel - A pleasant surprise
Located inside the chic Melrose Hotel in DC’s West End is Jardenea, a seasonally driven, farm to fork restaurant that has a heavy focus on sustainability. DC’s hotel restaurants tend to be hit or miss, and Jardenea is a definite HIT! When we went in for a recent dinner, we didn’t really know what to expect, but they truly surprised and impressed us in the best way possible.
The lobby of the Melrose is modern and elegant, with lots of blues, greys, and metal. I love that they have a lobby library, with seating to enjoy a book or the newspaper, and Jardenea on one side of the main entryway.
Derived from the French word for garden, jardin, the restaurant menu reflects the seasons. We started with cocktails, I went with a “Stoli Doli” – a pineapple and vodka drink that was refreshing and an easy (probably dangerously easy!) start.
For an appetizer we got the Brussels sprouts, which come roasted and with specks of goat cheese - I am huge fan of these and loved the combination of crunchy sprouts and creamy cheese. The portion is absolutely massive though, which worked out great since they were delicious. Following that, we had a salad with shaved beets, arugula, marcona almonds and an orange blossom honey vinaigrette. Also delicious and also large.
For my main course, I went with the grass fed filet of beef – it’s usually my test in a modern American restaurant that they get the steak right. And they sure did! It was perfectly cooked (medium rare as asked) and came with the most indulgent and wonderful truffled dauphinoise potatoes. This is the dish that really impressed me – simple in concept, but done with a finesse that showed off the chef’s creativity, experience, and passion for the craft. I do still dream of those potatoes.
For dessert we went with a chocolate lava cake, which didn’t come out as warm as I’d like, but was still pretty damn tasty. They also had a more interesting sounding crème brulee and a panna cotta, but we felt like we wanted a basic dessert after the indulgent meal!
One thing I’d like to see more on the menu is a solid vegetarian option – I did not see one in the menu when I dined. I’d also like to go back to try some of their seafood options – sadly they were out of the coriander dusted soft shell crab the night I dined, but I have a feeling they do it right! (I guess it will now have to be 2019 before I try it!).
What impressed me most with Jardenea was that their food, while seemingly unfussy, is done right and with a precision and thought that showed me the capabilities and talent of the team. Here in DC our attention is (mostly) always on the new and trendy spots, but my dinner at Jardenea reminded me that good found can be found in many different places even if there are no lines out the door. Give Jardenea a chance – I’m glad I did.
To make a reservation at the Melrose’s signature restaurant for brunch, lunch, dinner, or happy hour, and to view more details and menus, click here.