We headed up to Olney, MD last night to catch the excellent production of EVITA and stopped in to Sardi's Fusion (www.sardisfusion.com) which was a new name to us in town only to find out it occupied the place we last ate in in Olney about a year ago. The new place is cool with neat modern Latin art, cool lighting and excellent service. Pierre our waiter was assisted by the owner who always asked if we needed anything.
I started with a Pisco Sour and the foam was perfect and the drink divine while Will enjoyed his Pomegranate Martini. The prices are high (low teens for cocktails) for suburbia, but worth it. The starters are quite inexpensive and were all superb.
Samuel loved the flaky pastry on his Chicken Empanadas but did not want to try any of the olive or other sauces that accompanied them. Speaking of sauce, you get three salsas with salty potato chips (or were they yucca) and they were all super from jalapeno, medium and mild all of which were creamy in texture yet not rich at all.
Will and I split two items and the ceviche comes from a choice of about 5 different ones so we went with MIXTO of Shrimp, Calamari, Otopus, Bay Scallops and Rocoto(Peruvian Peppers) Leche de Tigre. These come with the large Peruvian corn kernels as well as popped corn nuts for crunch. The other appetizer was GRAN PULPO with a huge piece of grilled octopus with Marble Potatoes, Microgreens, White Truffle Vinegar, Beech Mushrooms, Black Olive Aioli and Asian Pear Puree. There are gorgeous photos of these dishes on my FB page, but the Pulpo was sheer artwork, not to mention delicious!
Sam's coke was constantly refilled at no charge and sometimes before he had even finished half a glass, they would whisk the used glass away and replace it with a full new one. While this is attentive, it is a bit wasteful.
Salads come with each main course and were tasty with an interesting, if salty, Spicy Balsamic Dressing.
His main course was Tallarin Verde con Bistec which is a Linguini with Spinach Pesto Cream and Pan Fried Breaded Steak. The steak was eaten, but I had a bite and it was not the most tender. The pasta was a huge rich portion and a bit gummy. Frankly, I would avoid pasta in a Peruvian kitchen. Will ordered the Aji de Gallina or shredded chicken with spicy Aji Amarillo, White Rice, Boiled Egg & Olive which was the best of the main courses, but also quite rich and heavy.
I wanted fish and something lighter and Pierre tried to steer me to the Salmon with Crab Risotto, but I restrained and chose the Grouper Chorillana which was pan seared with aji amarillo mashed potatoes, smoked bacon and tamarind sauce.
The fish was excellent but buried in the heavy mashed potatoes and sauces which I left behind for the most part.
I think we will stick to many starters and multilple ceviches if we return.
Samuel decided we should split the Alfajores for dessert and this was a winning hit of the best we have ever had of these cookies stuffed with dulce de leche and served on little swizzles of chocolate sauce. The Picarones are fried dough drizzled with honey and indeed while tasty were way too much for us to finish, even if they were a gift from the manager. I think a table of 6 might do well with one piece each, but we preferred the yummy Alfajores (2 huge cookies in a serving).
The wine list says 40 wines under $40, but I only counted some 2 dozen plus and they are not of the best quality. You do well to stick to the Pisco Sours, but they do give a generous pour and my Oyster Bay Chardonnay was decent with the grouper as was Will's Malbec.
We get to Olney several times a year for shows and we would return for sure, but would avoid the heavier dishes at Sardi's!