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Blue Duck Tavern Thoughts?

I'm making a trip to DC from Boston in early april and was wondering what the general thoughts were on Blue Duck Tavern. I searched the board, but not much came up. I have reservations for Monday Apr. 7th, and what are the best dishes, etc., but would also be interested in other recs (maybe lunch) for some killer fresh pasta. Thanks for any help...

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  1. I had my engagement dinner there last August, and because it was such a special night, my view may be a bit tainted, but I thought the food was excellent. We had some really great appetizers including the charcuterie (sp.) plate and great marrow dish with fresh made breads an an outstanding tuna. We had some very fresh fish and there was a duck three ways dish that was out of this world. Additionally the wine list was great with a lot of Italians (which we like) on the list.

    I probably didn't give you too much info, but I hope this helps.

    1. I really like the place. It has very well prepared food, but it isn't pretentious at all, the portions are hearty (sides are served family style). Their strong suit is definitely in their strong meats: bone marrow, duck, veal, rabbit. Also if you like grits they have super grits. If you like bourbon, the bourbon dessert was very good, much better than their apple pie which looks promising, but wasn't so. But their savory meats were definitely the strongest of their preparations.

      For fresh pasta possibly Bebo, but they have service issues, or maybe Palena I always like their pasta.

      1. I haven't been recently but ate there about a year ago and thought it was wonderful! The duck main course (I believe mine was served with some sort of 5 spice mix...it was incredible) and lobster appetizer was delicious. I also liked the shared sides and their style of serving things in mini caste-iron dishes etc. Just a style I can really appreciate. Their proteins (steaks, duck, veal) are all excellent and done really well.

        For great pasta I would suggest either Filomena in Georgetown (homemade red sauce Italian. The spinach ravioli and gnocchi are great. You can even watch the Pasta Mamas making the pasta fresh in the front window). For something more Tuscan/rustic I recommend Dino in Cleveland Park (although i'm not 100% sure its open for lunch).

        1. Blue Duck has a great chef but the style of restaurant is hit or miss I think for some people...very home-family style food. Lots of fat and butter! The family style servings are best for groups of 4 or more - not for couples. Overall, not my kind of place but it might be yours.
          I do agree though that the bone marrow was awesome.

          Tosca has fresh pasta for lunch and dinner.

          1. Susie Q, lots of fat and butter is definatley my style! I don't care what the NYTimes says this week. Anyways I am looking more towards like a 'Babbo'esque kind of place in terms of pasta. Doesn't have to be super formal or anything, just not red sauce joints. Tortelli, Love Letters, Strozzapretti, all those fun ones with interesting fillings or shapes, where the sauce is more of a condiment rather than the dish. Thank for any advice...

            2 Replies
            1. re: BeantownHound

              I've never been but I heard Locanda is really good--especially their raviolis. And from what I can tell its not classic red Italian. Perhaps someone else can comment on this?

              1. re: Elyssa

                Locanda does some things quite well. The pastas I've had have been fresh, inventive and not overwrought. Sometimes I think the price/value equation is out of whack there, but we've always had super service. In fact, we've replaced Sonoma with Locanda as our "go to" place on the Hill because the service at Sonoma can be so snotty.

            2. We, a couple of Seattleites, just returned from a DC trip last night. Our meal at Blue Duck was a highlight (tied, perhaps, with Central). My salad was one of those everything-I-love experiences, outstanding greens with blue cheese, beets, spiced nuts, BACON vinaigrette (I mean really, how could that not be delicious). Husband was a little disappointed in the leek-oyster bisque, would have liked it more oystery. Of three mains, two meats and a fish, the meats by far shined brightest. I loved my veal cheek goulash, our nephew's chestnut and chanterelle stuffed quail (boned, and in easy-to-eat packets, which the menu doesn't mention) were really delicious. The triple fries are very good, I never asked what was "triple" about them, but a friend said part of the secret is duck fat. The whole roasted sea bream was good, but didn't capture our interest as much alongside those other two dishes. It was the best service we'd had in town. I would happily go back on a future trip to DC.

              1. I've only been once but thought the food was excellent.

                3 Replies
                1. re: NYDCTransplant

                  The food at Blue Duck is very good. Here are some dishes we liked; crab mac and cheese, tavern steak, beef long rib. I have also enjoyed their seafood dishes in the past though I can't find what I had had before on the current menu. For sides we also liked the triple fries, the grits, and the mushrooms.

                  We did like the apple pie, ask for the ice cream on the side (I think it is homemade) although note that, unfortunately, they add a charge for it. The chocolate cake flamed with bourbon is very good as well.

                  The service is good too, although be prepared, the meal will definitely take a while.

                  1. re: dc_eater

                    Just went to Blue Duck. First time I ever tried marrow and I have nothing to compare it to. Any other restaurant offer marrow in DC? For those who's had marrow before, how did it compare? I liked the restaurant and the service. Would definitely go back.

                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                      I've seen it on the Montsouris menu before. The restaurant is on P St in Dupont Circle. I've never eaten there before though so I can't tell you if the marrow is any good.