Takeout used to be for nights we were too busy to cook (too many evening activities) or too lazy (pull on your sweatpants and sit on the couch eating while watching Bosch). Takeout during days of COVID is a decidedly different, more celebratory, slant. It is a care package from the outside world and a stand against the tyranny of dirty dishes. We are four adults under one roof again: my husband and I, our daughter who is graduating from UD this month, and our son who is taking his second turn at college and working at a cashier at a local supermarket. Like many households, we are now on a tighter budget owing to change in work circumstances, so takeout has also become a weekly splurge for us. We have shared entrees and split sandwiches—eaten communally around a table complete with (insert the WOW emoji here) topical conversation. In the last weeks, we have enjoyed Mexican and Indian cuisines, pasta and cheesesteaks—all from locally owned restaurants. When we heard that Bardea was reopening for takeout, we cheered, relaxed the food budget a bit, and prepared ourselves as if for an event. All four of us showered on the same day (!) and put on what my daughter refers to as “hard” pants, nothing with an elastic waistband. She set the table with our good dishes. Candles. Flowers. We even made sure the dogs had new bones to keep them occupied.
I ordered online. The process couldn’t be easier. Bardea has some sweet family meals for 2 ($50) or 4 ($100). This week’s menu included shepards pie, marinated cucumbers, marbled potatoes, and banana cake. There are limited number of meals, so it helps to order ahead as soon as the new weekly menu comes out. While we were tempted by the family menu, we chose items from the a la carte menu instead. For about the same price as the family meal for four, we ordered calamari, sunflower hummus with pita, a whole Szechuan Chicken, two orders of cacio e pepe bucatini, goddess fries, and an Italian chopped salad.
When it was time to pick up our order, we easily found parking within a block of Bardea. We were greeted by a masked and gloved server outside the door of Bardea where we gave our name. We stood, socially distancing ourselves from the other masked patrons. Within five minutes, the server emerged with our order.
We live fifteen minutes from Bardea, so some of our menu items fared better than other in the transport. French fries are always a bit of a gamble for takeout. With the BBQ sauce and goddess sauce (my favorite), we didn’t care that they were a bit limp. Same for the calamari. When you haven’t had calamari in ages, you wolf them down and quibble about the temperature and crispiness later. The stars of our dinner were the chicken and the bucatini. The chicken was covered in a dark dry spice with soy, lavender, honey sauce on the side. Together the flavors were otherworldy. By that, I mean they did what we wanted them to do; they took us out of our small radius isolation with flavors you can usually only experience through travel. Speaking of which, the bucatini transported us back to a specific trattoria in Rome. Bardea does great things with pasta which drew us to the restaurant in the first place. The other dishes filled in the gaps nicely. I love a good salad with homemade dressing, and thanks to the fact that those in my social isolation circle aren’t big veggie lovers, I got the lion’s share. I’d like to say that this meal lifted our family dialog to new heights, but it pretty much stopped conversation completely except to say, “Please, pass the sauce.”
Owing to our well-stocked home bar, we didn’t order cocktails. Neighbors of ours, who ordered from Bardea the week before, got both the CBD cocktail (cbd infused honey, lemon juice, bourbon) and the margarita and raved. Each were $24, served two, and came in a 10 oz plastic container, similar to those of fresh squeezed juice. Neither did we order any of Bardea’s legendary pizzas. Next time? They are $12 each, plus Bardea has an extra offering at this time: a pizza kit for $20 which includes everything you need to make your own Bardea-style vegetarian pizza at home. I have heard from other friends that the meatballs and the mushrooms were standouts on the take-out menu. I have no word on desserts, but am hoping the cheesecake with lavender and a pretzel shortbread crust is still on the menu next time I order from Bardea—which will be sooner rather than later. After all, we have a college graduation to celebrate.
Bardea is open Wednesday through Saturday evenings for takeout only. You can find their weekly menu offerings on their website. Saturday night they’re even offering a special Family Meal for Mom’s. Bardea is located at 620 N. Market Street, Wilmington. Order online or by calling 302.426.2069.
Check out our full list of restaurants offering takeout and delivery #inWilm.