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Eating out in DC: Merzi, Ardeo & Bardeo, Estadio

In the last week I haven't done a lot of cooking. I've  made a simple version of shakshuka and then relived my childhood by making mashed potatoes, boiled hot dogs (sans buns) and canned peas. Ok, so the last dish might sound gross to you, but I love it! Don't knock it till you try it ;)

Needless to say, there have been quite a few meals out to fill in the gaps.
This week I had lunch with K at the recently opened Merzi. The basic idea of this casual restaurant is similar to Chipotle, which I love, but with Indian flavors. I had high hopes: Chipotle + Indian = success, right?

It was one of those cold DC days with strong wind gusts. Unfortunately, K and I weren't the only ones who decided to check out Merzi: the line was out of the door! Luckily, it moved quickly and we were inside in less than 10 minutes. I loved the decor: modern and warm with bright colors. Aren't the lamps gorgeous?

While standing in line we got to taste naan and a few chutneys, and I could not resist taking a photo of this pretty orchid on one of the tables.

On to the food. Here are directions from Merzi's website:
When you walk into Merzi, you will be surrounded by delicious aromas–try to focus on the meal you are about to order for yourself! Walk to the counter and get ready to order.
1. Pick one of the following for the base for your meal: naan, rice, salad or chaat.
2. Pick one of the following: Black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, or onion-pepper mix.
3. Choose your meat (or not!).
4. Pick whichever fresh vegetables you like.
5. Choose one of our warm sauces or cool chutneys to throw on top of it all.
6. Choose a drink and ask for a samosa or potato tikka at the register.
7. Grab a fork (or just grab your naan roll) and enjoy!
Whenever lamb is on the menu, that's usually my first choice. I did not deviate from my normal routine. I chose chaat, a combination of black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, onions and peppers; corn and tomato salad and medium chutney. K went with rice and chicken. The food was good and filling and fresh. This is definitely a great place to come for a quick lunch or dinner, but I was hoping for more Indian influence. Next time I'll have to try their naan and braised shredded beef.

I've also finally made my way to the newly reopened Ardeo & Bardeo. This was a media event and I got to taste five different passed hors d'oeuvre. Some were better than others. For example, the beet salad and the garbanzo bean salad were good, but nothing I could not have easily made at home. My favorite dish by far was the veal and ricotta meatballs with citrus scented tomato sauce. These would have been so good over cheesy polenta.

My favorite meal by far, however, was dinner at Estadio with my friend Wendy. I can't believe this was the first time I was eating at this Spanish restaurant. (Sorry, I left my camera at home, so no photographs) We sat at the bar right by the open kitchen and enjoyed seeing how the dishes are made. Everything we tried was spot on, and I'm not even exaggerating. This meal brought so many fond memories of my trip to Madrid last Spring.

My favorite tapas were:
Chorizo, Manchego & Pistachio Crusted Quince
Open Faced Sandwich With Foie Gras Mousse, Smoked Duck Breast & Caramelized Onions
Grilled Scallions, Romesco & Sheep’s Milk Cheese

I definitely need to come back to Estadio and check out their seafood dishes.

Where have you had good meals lately?


Lauren (PB&G) said...

Wow.. I wish there was a Merzi around here. The immediate area I live in is pretty ethnic food challenged. I have to travel at least an hour to find any sushi, Thai or Indian food.

Unknown said...

Wow, everything looks so good! Hubbykins and I recently ate at two really good restaurants Koffman's at the Berkely Hotel in London, and a wonderful Italian restaurant called Boca de Lupo. I plan to blog about them both. I only wish my pictures were as lovely as yours!
*kisses* HH

♥peachkins♥ said...

wow! everyhting looks delicious!

City Girl said...

I enjoyed the old Ardeo and Bardeo so I look forward to tasting some of the dishes on the new menu. And, I'm rarely on 14th St, but if you like Estadio, I'll make a trip there! Thanks :)!

nicole said...

im glad you liked estadio, i'm itching to go back there!

you know it's a good restaurant when you're waiting for the check and saying "lets get this next time!"

the only other place I've done that at recently was Birch & Barley~

BlueToYou said...

omygosh an Indian Chipoltle! Why can' it come to Atlanta!!!