Several times each night at L’Ardente, a sparkling candy party trick will come out and cause the entire dining room draped in Missoni curtains to stop and stare on the spot.
Since opening last October, Chef David Deschaeus’s “Italian Glam” restaurant in Capitol Crossing’s gleaming new development has illuminated 22 boxes of sparkling lamps, lighting up 5,300 enticing dessert toppers so far. The free offer, available upon request, celebrates all kinds of special occasions clients might be there for — birthdays, graduations, engagements, anniversaries, a new job, you name it.
“It’s something you might see in more cheerful cities like Vegas or Miami, but not so much in D.C. After we got out of COVID we wanted to make the energy at L’Ardente more like a festive restaurant,” one rep told Eater.
Rammy for Best New Restaurant-friendly Eater 38 also attracts notice with its 40-layer lasagna, airy oven-cooked gold-plated pizza, espresso martini, a fine selection of pop art, and a celebrity clientele (Obama’s recent date) A night in one of its jewel-colored booths). None of the celebrity guests have requested this diamond yet, per actor.
While Deshaies also offers theatrical show alongside desserts at Central and Unconventional Diner, DC’s newest restaurant seems to be the most popular place to spot a sparkler on any given night. On Fridays and Saturdays at L’Ardente, about 10 to 15 novices wander around the elevated dining room before landing at their final destination. On the other nights, about four to five fiery finals happen. Patrons can take note of Resy’s post-dinner order or just ask the server mid-meal at the table. Do some people fake a special occasion just to join in the fun? naturally.
“We certainly sometimes feel ‘wink of an eye, wods’ if someone sees one and they also want one at their table. We’re happy to do that for people who are already celebrating,” according to a L’Ardente representative.
Part of the Instagrammable charm is the length and width of the light (almost a full minute). Sparklers pull off a 13-layer chocolate cake or bread pudding, but any dessert from pastry chef Manabu Inoue will do. For the soft, seasonal serving or the tiramisu, which comes encased in a chocolate ball and also ignited, there’s no real way to heat the sparkler in desserts. So it is attached to a separate plate with a chocolate tag that shows the reason behind the celebration relationship. Some delicious dishes are also distinguished by taste with the help of a metallic golden spear:
On the first of July 4th in the capital, L’Ardente is going all-out with a three-course wine dinner filled with sumptuous courses like chilled lobster and soft-stuffed lobster ($200). The rooftop conservatory on the 13th floor hosts a fireworks-watching party overlooking the capital’s skyline ($90), complete with wine, bubbles, a chandon cart, and nine kinds of candy bites. Both L’Ardente festivities are sold out, but there is a waiting list for the party on the rooftop.