100 Best Restaurants 2008: Blue Duck Tavern
No. 12: Blue Duck Tavern
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli, Dave McIntyre
Comments () | Published January 1, 2008
100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Blue Duck Tavern
Address: 1201 24th St., NW, Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 202-419-6755
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom/West End, Downtown
Cuisines: Modern, Breakfast, American
Opening Hours: Open for breakfast Monday through Friday 6:30 to 10:30. Open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 to 2:30. Open for dinner daily 5:30 to 10:30. Open for brunch Saturday and Sunday 11 to 2:30.
Nearby Metro Stops: Foggy Bottom-GWU, Farragut West
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Business Attire
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Soft-shell crab; crispy sweetbreads; warm Swiss-chard pie; sturgeon rillettes with caviar; roasted chicken; pork weisswurst with red cabbage; short-rib hash and cinnamon-bun French toast (breakfast and brunch); house-made ice creams.
Price Details: Appetizers $8 to $18, entrées $18 to $32.

Cuisine: Trendily traditional American cooking bolstered by chef Brian McBride’s sourcing—purveyors are exhaustively listed on the menu—and ability to coax the utmost flavor out of whatever’s in his sauté pan.

Mood: Glass walls, wide-plank wood floors, and handcrafted furnishings make a spare backdrop for the theatrics of the open kitchen, where sous chefs churn the ice cream of the day and fuss over burnished pies from the oven.

Best for: Aesthetes who want it all: austere yet beautiful surroundings and stellar cuisine. It’s close enough to the Kennedy Center to make it a pre- or postshow contender. And the outdoor patio is ideal for one of the best brunches in town in summertime.

Best dishes: Rave-worthy smoked-trout-and-potato rillette with Riesling-mustard gelée; pickled baby beets with a hit of curry; tender long bone of beef; thrice-cooked finger-thick French fries (dip them in the house-made steak sauce that comes with the beef bone); roasted scallops perfumed with lemon and thyme; caramel cheesecake with roasted pears and tart cranberry compote; house-made ice creams.

Insider tips: There are some truly great—and expensive—wines by the glass, so check the price before going with sommelier recommendations or you could end up with a $55 glass of Meritage “Opus One” 2003. The blossoming teas, served in clear glass pots, are another high point—you can see the leaves morph into a flower before your eyes.

Service: •••

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/01/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews