100 Best Restaurants 2011: Blue Duck Tavern
Comments () | Published January 20, 2011
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.

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

Picture a Vermont farmhouse. Now replace the log walls with glass, the creaky floorboards with buffed wood, the rustic kitchen with gleaming appliances, and the farmer with blue-suited attendants. Leave in the rocking chairs, thick walnut tables, and jars of preserved produce. That’s Blue Duck Tavern—proof of how polished the farm-to-table movement can be.

Every item on chef Brian McBride’s menu has its provenance listed, and dishes are stripped of fuss—a simple roast chicken, whole roasted fish—to allow the main ingredient to shine. Entrées are designed to be shared. Sides are extra—servers suggest one per person, but these dishes tend to be heavy; a table of four usually will be happy with one or two.

Also good: House-smoked-sturgeon rillettes topped with hackleback caviar; seared Nantucket bay scallops with root vegetables, chestnuts, and date purée; braised beef with house-made steak sauce; slices of crispy-skinned duck breast with duck-leg ragoût and huckleberry dressing; roasted beets with preserved orange peel and salty Marcona almonds; apricot sorbet. Brunch is one of the best in the area—highlights include baked eggs with tomato; short-rib hash with horseradish sauce and poached egg; and house-made croissants.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Expensive.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/20/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews