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Dinner choice: Central, Komi or Blue Duck Tavern?

  • k

Going to be in town for two dinners at the end of the month. CityZen is already booked for one of them. For the other, the short list is down to Central, Komi and the Blue Duck Tavern. Price differences between the three seem to be fairly minor, so that's not a factor. Which to choose?

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  1. I can not personally recommend any of your choices myself as I have not been to them.
    But many people who's opinion I respect have praised Komi. And after reading the below review recently Komi is on my short list of must visit restaurants.

    1. Komi - one of the finest diners we've had in a long time. Creative, beautifuly presented, excellent taste, wonderful service.

      1. Only been to Komi, but it is exceptional. Have you thought about Jose Andres' minibar?

        1. I've been to Blue Duck and Central, and I vote Central. We had an amazing meal, fantastic service, and a reasonable bill.

            1. Blue duck is NOT as good as it wishes it were, and its prices were definitely set to take full advantage of its expense account clientele. (read - it is totally overpriced).

              Having never been to central, I would STILL pick that over BDT.

              1. I have been to all three (more than once). No question: Komi is th best of the three, by a wide margin.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Dakota Guy

                  By the way, do the tasting menu. The mezze [appetizers] alone are worth it.

                  1. re: Dakota Guy

                    I recently read they are only offering the tasting menu now. Or at least since the beginning of the year. Is that correct?

                    1. re: oysterspearls

                      The last time I was there was mid-December. They had a tasting menu and an a la carte menu at that time.

                  1. Thanks for all of the input. Looks like Komi is the way to go. Can anyone give me an example or two of what kinds of mezzes might be offered?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Kurtz

                      With the tasting menu, you get 5-7 different. Most are one or two bites. They have been different every time I have been there. I love the variation but hate it when there was something I really loved the last time and its not served now. One of my favorites was battered fried anchovies. Tiny, lightly battered, crisp, oh so delicious. My GF and I were glaring at each other over who got the last one. The kitchen is very accommondating, by the way. I don't eat red meat and they fixed several mezze just for me while my GF had the meat related mezze that they were serving that night.

                    2. I ate at Blue Duck Tavern last night and had an absolutly amazing dinner. I went with 3 other diners, we all got seperate appetizers and entrees and everything was suberb. They have a huge beautiful open kitchen so if you go ask for a table with a view of the kitchen. The menu is fresh and perfectly cooked. I highly recommend the duck or the lobster main course. And the trout appetizer tasted like perfect white fish.

                      THe waitstaff was friendly and everything was very relaxing and not over done. Just so you know everything is served ala carte so it can get a bit pricey but seeing from your choices it doesn't seem like price is much of an issue.

                      1. I would also second the recommendation for BDT (though having not had the opportunity to have eaten at your other choices, I can't speak in terms of comparison). While BDT is not inexpensive, I think the quality and quantity of the food makes the price point very realistic. For example, on my visit to BDT, I had a prime aged steak that was priced at $32 which I believe to be reasonable for that quality of meat. The portion was also large enough that I had to take 2 of the slices home and I never have leftovers. But, the apple pie alone may be worth the visit...probably the best rendition I've had. And, as the previous poster alluded to, the service was exceptional.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jp32

                          I ate at Blue Duck Tavern on my recent DC trip, and was very disappointed. I also wrote a full report, which I lost on the computer before my post was completed. (Sigh, I should know to do in word and cut and paste). Basically, I lost the energy to redo the entire report a second time, but my executive summary is:

                          Service: eh. Not at all friendly. I think the word I would use is robotic.

                          Food: mostly eh as well: I was really looking forward to the opportunity to try their bone marrows, and they were good.However, the rest of my meal was forgettable, to the point that I can't even remember what main I had. I did try the fries that several hounds at raved about, and wasn't that excited. Not delicious, with a bit of an 'off' taste, and very expensive: My serving was about six to eight fries for $8; and not terribly large fries at that. Fries have to be pretty amazing to be worth $1 or more each, and these weren't.

                          Atmosphere: eh. Yes, there is an open kitchen, but the seating is not set up to take advantage of it: if there is a table with a good view of the kitchen, I didn't see it.

                          I'd be unlikely to go back.

                        2. I can't speak for Central, but I've been to Komi and the BDT. BDT was the biggest disappointment I've been to for a while. Horrible service - and I mean awful. (Small things were missed, such delivering all appetizers at the same time, forgetting to pick up chargers, etc. I've never been so annoyed.) Food was eh. I could have done better at a restaurant that was half the price - which for four of us was $440, which did include a bottle of $50 wine, but considering the price should have been much less.
                          Do yourself a favor and stay away.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Catty

                            I think that's a pretty brazen overstatement. Your experience may very well have been like that, however we were there last night and experienced impeccable service with truly excellent food. Perhaps the staff has changed?

                            1. re: jpschust

                              Same with me. When I went with my parents and boyfriend in March we had excellent service. I actually wish I could remember the name of our waiter so I could give him props. But all our food came out at once, he was helpful in recommending some sides and helping us with wine choices. I loved our meal! Everything about the evening was incredibly enjoyable. I think I went soon after they opened (maybe a month or so). Maybe they have slipped since then but I've been really shocked at some of the bad comments I've heard about the place since I think it was one of the top dining experiences I've had in DC. (And for the record that same weekend we went to Citronelle. And I must say in some ways I enjoyed BDT a little bit more...but only on certain things.)

                          2. I'm with the sea of people recommending Komi. I've been to all three, and Komi is far and away the best of the bunch. The food is fresh, creative and inspired. The service wasn't memorable -- both in a good and bad way.

                            I agree with other posters who've said BDT is overpriced. Admittedly, I went to lunch once there not long after it opened, so perhaps things have changed. When I went, though, I was underwhelmed. Everything was good, but the bill was still a bit higher than I thought it should have been.

                            I'm one of the few dissenting voices on this board on Central. I've been twice -- once for lunch and once for dinner. I didn't love the gougeres or the lobster burger, which are often praised around here. They were both good, but not as "love-worthy" as some make them out to be. I've had the shrimp burger and fried chicken. Of those, I preferred the fried chicken. The shrimp burger was a bit too greasy for my taste. I just think if someone else's name were on the door, they wouldn't be able to charge nearly the same prices for the food being served. (I'm sure I'm opening myself up to all sorts of criticism here.) Not to mention, I've had service problems both times I've been.

                            One final word -- Central is much more bustling and noisier than BDT or Komi. If you do Komi, plan on a peaceful, leisurely evening.