100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Blue Duck Tavern


An appetizer of sweetbreads. Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Blue Duck Tavern


1201 24th St NW
Washington, DC 20037

Of all the revivals mounted over the past couple of years, the
most astonishing has nothing to do with the Kennedy Center or Arena
Stage—it’s this austere exercise in Americana in the Park Hyatt. Without
drastically revamping the menu, Sebastien Archambault has reanimated a
restaurant whose brand of luxury-class locavorism had flatlined. He can
make food-nerd arcana seem as homey as meatloaf—as he does with his
roasted marrow bones topped with red wine, apple butter, and granola—and
can haul a crabcake far from its Maryland roots while making you grateful
for it. (The lobster aïoli is its own reward.) He also can make 1,000
calories feel like 100—no small accomplishment with a menu as rich as

In an age of relaxed dress codes, the restaurant wants to be a
special-occasion destination. Service bends to the formal, and the wine
list is notable for high markups on many pleasant if unremarkable bottles.
Don’t miss: Foie gras with a hen egg; glazed veal
sweetbreads; roast suckling pig; garlic sausage; rib eye for two; grits
with redeye gravy; seasonal crumble; apple pie.

Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Saturday and
Sunday for breakfast, brunch, and dinner. Very expensive.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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.