Blue Duck Tavern
1201 24th St., NW
Washington, DC 20037
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom/West End, Downtown
Cuisines: Modern, Breakfast, American
Open Monday through Friday 6:30 to 10:30, 11:30 to 2:30, and 5:30 to 10:30. Saturday and Sunday 11 to 2:30 and 5:30 to 11:30.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Foggy Bottom-GWU, Farragut West
Price Range: Expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
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.
Appetizers $8 to $18, entrées $18 to $32.
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Valet Parking Available, Weekend Brunch
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.