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Nov 19, 2007 08:28 AM

The Blue Duck Tavern

Last night I ate at the Blue Duck Tavern for the first time and it was amazing. I thought I should share the details of my experience because while looking up the restaurant on here last night before I went, there were several raves, but also many complaints about what you get for the price, and I beg to differ.

My experience was flawless. Our service was perfect, just attentive enough to come refill my wine glass or water glass when running low, but in no way obtrusive. My server was incredibly knowledgeable about the menu and made many suggestions that were right on.

We started with a dozen oysters and the bone marrow appetizer, both of which were excellent. There were some complaints about how the food is served on platters and for that price you shouldn't have to serve yourself. Personally, I love being able to try a few different things for each course and the way they serve each dish makes it perfect for sharing. I imagine that if you are dining alone the individual serving platters may seem unnecessary, but if you have company I think the serving platters are ideal.

For our main course, we had the duck which was cooked perfectly, and the pork. We also got the semi-famous fries that are cooked in duck fat, and per our servers suggestion, tried the grits and leeks as well. The grits were out of this world, perhaps my favorite dish of the night. The fries met expectations and the leeks were perfectly seasoned and delicious.

For dessert, we ordered the banana milk chocolate custard and the peach ice cream, both of which were fantastic. Overall, I would highly recommend any of the dishes that I ordered.

Another great thing is that the wine list is very reasonable and comprehensive. We ordered a bottle of the 2002 Bodegas Alion Tinto Riserva, which was priced at $100 on the menu. If you search for this bottle elsewhere, retail is around the same price. A fantastic bottle of wine for a really reasonable price is hard to come by!

Overall, I would say that the food, the service, and the wine were impeccable. While too expensive to become a regular spot, I would not hesitate to go back for a special occasion and highly recommend you try it if you have not done so already.

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  1. You "beg to difffer." Your experience is as valid as others, just different. For example, I have eaten there several times. The ambiance, service, and food were none to my liking. I wouldn't go back, regardless of the occassion [price was not an issue]. We just have had very different expectations, experiences, and tastes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dakota Guy

      I'm not saying others' points are not valid, I'm simply saying my experience was everything I expected and more. Too bad you had sub par experience both times you dined there - I'd say give it another shot because my meal was flawless!

    2. I am glad you had a nice dinner. I too have had some really good food there, and agree their grits are just amazing. Thanks for the recent report, it is always helpful to have new reviews so you can judge how places are keeping up. Your dinner sounds so good on this dreary, cold day.

      1. BethKlein thanks for your review. I had a very similar experience at Blue Duck Tavern as you--excellent food, wonderful service, and a nice, relaxed night filled with good food. I also got their delicious duck and thought it was fantastic.

        Glad to see a positive review because I was shocked by all the bad reviews. When I ate there in March I thought BDT was going to be applauded all over Chowhound. I guess people have different tastes after all...or the restaurant is far from consistent.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Elyssa

          I had a dinner at Blue Duck in September and lunch there today. Once you get over the shock of the modern setting for down to earth, hearty food, it's quite a nice experience. Service was excellent at dinner; fine at lunch. Both meals were excellent. Go with four or more people so you can get grits and fries to share -- both utterly delicious and utterly caloric. First time we had the crab cakes they were in the running for "best of DC," this time, just very good, not best. Maybe I'm jaded. Chocolate cake with bourbon an alcoholic's dream dessert. And would you believe, the brussel sprouts were excellent? I will be back.

        2. Ate dinner there last night.

          The setting is great, the open kitchen is very cool if you get seated towards the front of the house. There seemed to be as many diners as their were waitstaff, and the service was generally very accommodating.

          Had the Bone Marrow which was fantastic.

          I ordered the duck and my date had the scallops, both were cooked excellently but a little lukewarm once they arrived to our table. Perhaps we simply took too long with the marrow? Either way both dishes were good despite what they lacked in temperature. The triplefried fries were quite good.

          Had the chocolate cake for dessert which was actually pretty mediocre. But overall it was a pretty great meal. The ala carte side dishes makes it more expensive than it needs to be, but the portion of the duck was such that it would likely be satisfying enough on its own if you were trying to save money.

          I would most definately eat there again.

          2 Replies
          1. re: nickslk

            I was generally unimpressed w/ BLUE DUCK TAVERN.
            Yes, the duck fat fries and bone marrow appetizer were GREAT.
            But the steak was nothing special, especially for those prices.
            The creamed spinach and dessert were equally underwhelming.
            Our waitress disappeared between dessert and bill.
            The atmosphere was sterile and lacking in character.

            1. re: chicken kabob

              I agree with you both on desserts; I've been underwhelmed every time. But, I've always had good experiences although I hear it's gone a little downhill lately. I haven't been there in a few months. Some things I've enjoyed:

              Duck with a balsamic cherry glaze - I normally stay far away from fruit glazed anything because it's always too sweet, but this was a winner. Cooked perfectly, and the glaze was not over powering.

              Duck and fois gras sausage - These were amazing; light and airy.

              Roasted carrots - roasted with corriander, orange and carrot juices. I love the simplicity and they were really well executed. Mushy carrots are the worst.

              Obviously, as mentioned, the marrow and fries are also very good.