Restaurant: L’Ardente

Michael and Sherry took Debbie and me to dinner at L’Ardente in celebration of my birthday.

The diners, the night we were there were a mix of people of every age and race and combinations thereof.

Because each of us or most of us shared every dish, the following is a list of all the dishes ordered, regardless of who ordered it.

Cavolfiori – Fried Cauliflower, Chili-Garlic Aioli

Margherita Pizza – Pomodoro, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Sicilian Oregano

Insalata Cesare – Little Gem Lettuce, Preserved Lemon, Anchovy dressing, Mint Breadcrumbs

Barbabietole – Beet “Crudo”, Cacao Nibs, Yuzu Dressing

Lasagna – 40 Layers/Short Rib Sugo/Truffle Mornay/Sottocenere Cheese

Whole Grilled Branzino/Fennel/Tomato/Olives/Salmoriglio Sauce

WW decided to have the four of us to rate a number of the dishes 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th in order of our preference.

Mike M Debbie Sherry Mike B
Lasagna 1 1 1 3
Whole grilled branzino 2 2 2 2
Insalata Cesare 3 4 3 4
Fried cauliflower 4 3 4 1
Pizza 5 5 5 5

As a surprise birthday cake, we were served a Tiramisu Flambe – which is served as an upside down half globe of Valrhona chocolate with espresso-soaked lady finger and Marscapone inside. Rum is then poured over the sphere which is set on fire. If included in the list above, it would likely to number 1 on everyone’s list.

Before the Tiramisu was delivered, I had already ordered another dessert – Bread Pudding – Panettone, Hazelnut Almonds, Custard, Cinnamon Chocolate Sauce. I managed to consume a fair amount as did a few of the others.

The restaurant’s Cocktails list includes two that can be prepared without alcohol.

Our server was William who was assisted with the delivery of each dish by a number of hustling assistants.

The restaurant seats up to 170 people and on some nights has three seatings, raising the total number served to over 500 people.

The restaurant is loud, but we could hear each other.

There is a sign above the entryway to the hall, just off the dining room that leads to the restrooms, it says “Don’t Do Coke in Bathrooms”.

There are four, easily accessible, gender neutral, restrooms.

Three of the restrooms are identical. There is a square-shaped but relatively low, white ceramic commode with toilet paper in a device inserted into the wall.

There is a single white ceramic washbasin with gold fixtures and a wall hanging mirror. There is a small, gold waste container in the corner.

The walls are covered with light blue ceramic tiles and the floor is covered with large dark square floor tiles.

The fourth restroom has some additional items to make it handicapped accessible and useful for taking care of babies including a changing table that drops down from its wall-hanging position.

There are also, waist high and wall high, gold bars around the commode and along the wall to a full-length mirror.

The restaurant is not open for lunch…it opens for dinner at 5 p.m., 7 days a week.

The host greeting area, at the main entrance to the restaurant, is several steps above the dining room floor. There is a small lift to allow wheelchair users to access the dining room.

The restaurant opened October 5, 2021.

Eric Eben, the owner, and David Deshales, the Chef of L’Ardente, also own and operate the Unconventional Diner and Central with Chef Chris Edwards.

Some odds and ends about dining at L’Ardente. There is a 20% service charge (tip) automatically added to all guest checks of 8 people or less with a 2-hour table time limit. The service charge is 25% for parties of 9 or more and a 3-hour table time limit. Notably, the 4 of us were at our table for more than two hours and no one suggested we had to move on.

200 Mass Ave NW
Washington DC 20001