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Mixed experience at Ardeo Friday Night (light)

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Mixed experience at Ardeo Friday Night (light)

Chris in Vienna | Aug 30, 2004 09:04 AM

So my wife and I went to Ardeo on Friday night after work. We chose Ardeo since we were childless thanks to my parents' offer to baby sit.

We arrived for a fairly early dinner at 6pm. We were only the 2nd table in the restaurant at that point and by meal end were in a still fairly empty restaurant. I mention that as it becomes important later.

Appetizers were: Mixed green salad for my wife. Fresh and crisp, but nothing outstanding or special about it.

I had the seared sea scallops over a chanterelle pea risotto. The scallops were 2 or so cut across the diameter so that they were thinner than a full scallop. So, 4 nicely seared rounds on a risotto base. The risotto was properly prepared. No glop. The chanterelles were a nice addition but the peas took away from the dish. It was as if raw peas, straight from the pod were tossed on top of the risotto as an afterthought. I prefer all veggies cooked crisp, but these were simply hard. A light blanch would have improved the peas and given them a touch of sweetness instead of the slightly starchy mouth feel. Scallops were moist, hot, and very flavorful.

Entrees: My wife (and eventually I as well) had the Mahi Mahi over curried basmati. She really enjoyed her dish. It was a grilled filet of fish that had been dressed wtih cilantro, cooked cucumber sliced lengthwise and lime over a bed of basmati that was a bit over the top with a curry flavor, and not in a good way. It was as if curry powder alone was dumped into the cooking water. The aroma sort of overpowered the fish unless you went ahead and separated the dish before eating. The dish was garnished with edaname.

That was my review of the Mahi Mahi. This wasn't my first entree however.

I ordered the Alaskan halibut over a corn chowder sauce with mussels and clams.

This dish is to be avoided. We'll start at the bottom, the sauce. It was as if frozen corn kernals were tossed in a watered down canned corn base with what appeared to be one very small clam and 2 gritty mussels. When I say gritty, I don't mean a few grains of silt but a large amount in one of the mussels. THe clam had no flavor. The small slices of fingerling potato were either under or overcooked. The fish itself was dry on the outside and RAW inside. Not just seared, but stone cold.

We would have alerted the waiter right away but he was nowhere to be seen. Eventually, after my wife was 1/2 of the way through her entree, we flagged him and explained the problem. He was very apologetic, offered to either have it finished or for me to pick another entree. I don't think this fish would have been edible when cooked all the way through as the outside was already at the sun dried fish stage around the edges. So without an offer of a menu, I went ahead and just ordered the Mahi Mahi.

It was fine, the fish itself was very good but they obviously rushed my entree to get it to me so that the rice was pretty watery until it set up on my plate. The waiter was very apologetic, charged me for my original entreee which was less expensive than the Mahi Mahi (which is proper but I have been adjusted before at other restaurants), and promptly brought out a free cherry claflouti. He explained that while the mistake was in the kitchen, he was the one presenting the food and it was totally his fault by definition. I thought that was kind of nice. It would have been nice to eat with my wife, but it did work out in the end.

Since my wife is pregnant I opted for one glass of wine, a 2002 Pino Noir out of Sonoma, I think. It was fine but really opened up somwhere by the end of the meal. I think it was a new bottle, which I would have opened to breathe before guests arrived.

Would I go back? Probably, but I would first make a point of doing a pairing at Bardeo.

The staff made a mistake, which is inevitable. I blame the kitchen staff which were a bit off for so early in the evening. Maybe they needed to get into their groove. What redeemed the place was the waiter's attitude and actions.

Chris in Vienna

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