100 Best Restaurants 2012: Blue Duck Tavern

From soulful bistros to high-gloss steakhouses, there's lots of good eating in DC, Maryland, and Virginia


We gravitate to this high-toned farm-to-table destination whenever we’re in the mood for brunch and whenever we’re trying to satisfy a group of disparate personalities–the passing of silver chafing dishes engenders instant conversation and community. The restaurant is a synthesis of styles–the dining room dressed up with Shaker furniture and quilts, the open kitchen featuring market-like displays of vegetables and fruit–yet the dominant impression is of minimalism. Service is attentive and polished, if sometimes pushy. Still, there are few places in the area where you can spend as much and yet come away feeling comforted.

What to get: House-smoked sturgeon rillettes; blue-Hubbard-squash soup with eggnog; octopus confit with Cabernet aïoli; roast chicken with a zesty, jus-like barbecue sauce; culotte of beef cooked in the wood oven; maple-brined pork chop; crabcakes with mustard dressing; braised beef rib with house-made steak sauce; apple pie for two; candy-cane ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for breakfast, brunch, and dinner. Expensive.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.