Tom Sietsema weighed in on the new Ardeo + Bardeo in Cleveland Park in this weekend’s Post Magazine and says it has “polish and promise.” Owner Ashok Bajaj combined the formerly separate dining and bar spaces into one restaurant and moved Nate Garyantes, the former executive sous chef at Minibar, into the kitchen. And Sietsema likes what he sees, and tastes. Going through his review, Young & Hungry can verify a couple points.

That bresaola with “horseradish-spiked potato salad,” as Sietsema calls it, is indeed very good. It’s creamy, made with fingerling potatoes diced very fine. The chicken soup is excellent, too. “The deep bowl of tender chicken, hominy, sliced avocado and green chili broth pulsing with head is both beautiful and very comforting,” Sietsema writes. I happened to try it on a cold, blustery evening, and I could have had a pot of it. As spring sets in, it should make a nice transition, as it’s a light and refreshing way to kick off a meal.

While the separate spaces appealed to me, Bajaj’s revamped space is now one of the loveliest spots in Cleveland Park. (Washingtonians who like local icons should appreciate that the Waffle Shop’s neon sign has made its way into a wall mural.) It’s a renovation that feels more of a natural evolution of the space than the reworked interior of Palena up the street. Bajaj is a pro at allowing his restaurants to evolve gracefully over time.

Photo by Andrew Lightman courtesy Heather Freeman PR