If you are in Washington, DC, a restaurant worth checking out is The Blue Duck Tavern, located in the Northwest section (24 & M Streets, NW). The restaurant showcases an open staff pantry and kitchen, complete with a wood-burning oven, as well as the showpiece custom-designed commercial Molteni range, crafted in France and the first of its kind in Washington, D.C. Handcrafted furnishings and heavy, uncovered wood tables keep the restaurant warm and contemporary, offering a welcoming dining experience.
The Blue Duck Tavern welcomes you with wholesome American fare prepared through simple, time-honored cooking methods such as roasting, braising, preserving and smoking. This contemporary neighborhood tavern evokes the warmth and convivial setting of a residential kitchen and gathering place. The restaurant also recognizes the purveyors and artisans who enrich their menu with their fresh ingredients.
As usual, I zeroed in on local wines on the menu, in this case there were several options by the glass and in bottle. Before ordering food, I started with the Cabernet Franc Rosé, from the Boxwood Winery, located in Middleburg, VA. With my food I opted for the Vin Rouge (a Bordeaux Blend) from Glen Manor, located in Front Royal, Virginia.
Not sure what ingredients were sourced in Path Valley, PA (maybe all?), but I really enjoyed my Sweet Potato Pasta, Salsify, Brussels Sprouts, Huckleberry and Pumpkin. Both wines were excellent with the meal as well.
Entree items chosen by my companions included Wood Oven Fired Waygu Cullotte of Beef (from Durham Ranch, WY) with Red Wine Braised Shallots, the Wood Burning Oven Roasted Maine Scallops from Viking Village, ME, Whole Roasted Fish of the Day (Bream) from Congressional, MD, and the Jumbo Lump Crabcakes (Chesapeake Bay, MD) with Frisée, Fennel and Sweet Mustard Dressing. All entrees were deemed very good, though the whole fish caused some problems with loose bones.
Of the three deserts, Apple Pie, Straight from the Oven Chocolate Cake with Maker’s Mark Flambe and Pear, Blackberry and Almond Crumble with Creme Fraiche, the first and last were much appreciated, while the chocolate cake fell flat.
Overall, I thought the experience a worthwhile one. The food and wine options were wide-ranging and I am a sucker for any locally sourced, farm-to-table concept. However, the service was inconsistent, ranging from nonexistent to great. Also, while the food was outstanding, I felt the restaurant was flirting dangerously with the line of being overpriced. All that being said, I would still recommend this for a nicer evening meal out.
For more info or reservations, check out the Blue Tavern website or read their blog.
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