It can be quite the task to find the perfect restaurant to take my ex-chef father to for special occasions, an adventure that was further complicated by the pressures of the ever-stressful Father’s Day Dinner. Thank goodness for Blue Duck Tavern in Foggy Bottom! The menu boasts fresh, local ingredients, simplistic dishes, and phenomenal flavors that hit the spot. It can bring ex-chefs to their knees.
The restaurant is gorgeous – high ceiling, aesthetically pleasing interior architecture, large windows that allow a lot of light inside, and a very quaint and beautiful outdoor seating area. Reservations are recommended for any day of the week but parking is amazingly not too difficult so it’s totally worth the trip. Blue Duck is affiliated with the Hyatt hotel, so expect a mix of tourists and locals looking for an excellent dining experience.
On to the food! I’ve heard rave reviews about the signature Pear Martinis…but I could not pass up the opportunity to order a Cucumber-Ginger Martini. Super satisfying and surprisingly not too sweet for my palette! The ginger really balanced out the drink and gave it a perfect kick. Will probably not please everyone – my mom made quite the face after having a sip of my drink – but I thought it was pretty fantastic (I had two. ‘Nough said!) Blue Duck has an extensive wine list and a plethora of other signature drinks and a large beer selection so there’s a little something for everyone.
The dishes are tapas-style, even the entrees. For example, crab cakes are served without any type of garnish, just two cakes in pan with some type of tartar sauce on the side. I would definitely recommend ordering side dishes to supplement the meal, since you won’t get much with the entrée!
All that foodie hype sure lived up to expectations. Not to overuse my current favorite obsession..but the crab cakes (what else would I order?!) were delicious and were very meaty, they did not taste too fried, weren’t greasy/full of mayonnaise, and weren’t overwhelmed by breading. They were the perfect temperature and very evenly cooked. Enough to share…though go the selfish route and eating them all for yourself!
I recommend ordering a couple of side dishes in addition to entrees in order to have a more complete meal. My favorites were the roasted mushrooms (an assortment of shitakes, black truffle, porcini) and the daily harvest vegetable. I lucked out and had sugar snap peas sauteed in chipotle chile butter…excellent flavors.
And be sure to save room for dessert :) We opted for banana chocolate chip sorbet, which consisted of three incredibly generous scoops, and the signature apple pie, which really is more of an apple cake. Plenty to share, though to be fair I refused to let the banana sorbet stray too far from my spoon.
Service was wonderful, and I loved how all the food was carried to the tables – the runners/servers all knew who ordered what! Waiter offered great suggestions (especially for dessert!) and was attentive and knowledgable. The menu is relatively limited regarding number of offerings but that is not to say it’s at all limited in flavors!…other intriguing dishes include cuttlefish ravioli, smoked sturgeon, and marinated sheep’s milk cheese with fava beans. Brunch & breakfast menus looked excellent as well, all the more motivation to go back!