The new location of French brasserie Duck Duck Goose in Dupont Circle shares a name with its siblings in Bethesda and Baltimore, but “none of the ducks or geese look the same as their brothers or sisters,” chef/owner Ashish Alfred says. “I think people who have been to the other locations, they’re going to find themselves very surprised when they come to this location.”
The brick-walled, candle-lit dining room—with a 60-seat climate-controlled patio—officially opens Wednesday, December 8. Sure, the staples like duck confit, steak tartare, escargots, and croissant bread pudding are sticking around (though preparations may differ slightly). But the menu reveals plenty of new dishes, like bucatini with rabbit ragu and foie gras butter or crispy Napa cabbage with Granny Smith apples. Alfred is coy about sharing too many details: “Gotta save something for the honeymoon.”
The only area where he really cares about consistency is “the way that we make people feel,” he says. “For me as a restaurateur, there’s nothing I value more than walking into the dining room and the lights being just right and the music is probably just a touch louder than it should be, but people are having a good time. That’s what we built this restaurant for.”
The restaurant is open for dinner to start, but plans to soon expand to lunch with a similar menu plus salads and sandwiches like a croque monsieur or jambon-beurre. Stay tuned for brunch as well with omelettes and Nutella-stuffed French toast.
While you can expect a menu of French wines and cocktails, the restaurant also prides itself on its non-alcoholic drinks.
“They started off as a little bit of a passion project for me in Bethesda two, three years ago,” says Alfred, who’s been outspoken about his own battles with addiction. “We noticed there were a huge number of people who were ordering these drinks. Even people who weren’t sober, just people that wanted to have a drink that wasn’t water or iced tea or soda and wanted something complex to star their meal off with.”
Duck Duck Goose will also continue its tradition of “sober nights” at the Dupont locale with happy hours, dinners, and brunches focusing exclusively on zero-proof cocktails. Early in his sobriety, Alfred says he encountered a lot of people who felt their social lives were over when they stopped drinking.
“This is a good way to show people you can still go out and mingle and have a space to go to feel—I hate to say normal—but normal,” he says.
Duck Duck Goose. 2100 P St., NW.