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May 1, 2011 09:38 AM

Dining at Blue Duck Tavern tonight - what to order?

I'm finally having my first experience at Blue Duck tonight to celebrate my birthday. I've perused the menu online and I've read a bunch of comments about the food on CH. So much on this menu looks SO good I just have no idea what to order. This could be a place where I stare at the menu for a LONG time after my dining companions have made up their minds!

Here are the items that look really good to me:

Sturgeon rillette

Soft shell crab BLT

Bone Marrow (I read a lot of positive recommendations for this - I've only ever had it once - on a burger at Ray's, where I really didn't care for it. I'd love to try a bite, but I'm very nervous about ordering it, especially when so much else looks so good.)

Pork Terrine

Fois Gras (love this, but I also like to try new things)

I've read this place does meat very well, so I'm tempted - but while I'm certainly not a vegetarian, meat dishes often don't excite me. I'm leaning toward the scallops, fluke or whole fish as an entree. I 'm also considering ordering two or three apps and skipping the entree.

Several sides look good - how big are they? I'm going with one other person, so I'm thinking we should just find either a potato/grain side or a vegetable side to share.

Oh, and I MUST have this much-lauded apple pie for dessert! Would ordering it with ice cream be overkill?

So many great choices! What a wonderful problem to have!

Blue Duck Tavern
1201 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

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  1. Re: Apple pie. No it would not be overkill. :-)

    On the entrees, they have totally overhauled the menu since I was last there, when I would have said to get the brined chicken, no question. Even the sides are different.

    Still, I don't think I'd skip the entree. Reading it over, to me, the apps look kind of like the things they think they're expected to have, and the entrees look more like the things the chef wanted to have. We ordered a couple of apps when I was last there, and I don't even remember them, even though I do remember the entrees.

    I think I'd be getting that orange-ale braised rabbit or that fluke "t-bone." The asparagus I had before was vibrant and perfectly cooked and seeing as its now topped with duck egg bernaise and duck proscuitto, I can't see how it could have gotten worse.

    Anyway, I think overall our opinion was that they did rich flavors well. The beef was fine, but you can get better elsewhere. Things that were brined, braised, etc. were outstanding.

    Too bad the weather is not cooperative! I love, love, love the patio. FYI, we sat out there in 60F temps before and were fine with the lamps, etc., if it ever stops raining.

    Happy birthday!!!

    I can say this - you can definitely share sides. We split two between three people. Probably four people could eat that apple pie.

    1. Well, I'm back from the Blue Duck Tavern. I don't know if I'm just jaded or what... It was good, mind you, but VERY expensive, and my mind wasn't blown like I hoped it would be.

      I had a lemon sazerac cocktail to start, which I liked. I had the soft shell crab "BLT" which was good (I love shell crabs) but I tasted no bacon. The breading was not as crisp as I might have liked. Good, but not mind-blowing. My dinner companion had the English pea soup, which he liked. I tasted it; it was good but seemed a bit watery to me.

      I had the fluke "t-bone" for my main course. It was a very nicely cooked, moist piece of fish, served with a green sauce, which was described on the menu as fennel vichyssoise and morel mushrooms. Turns out it was made with fennel greens. It was very mild... tasty, but didn't taste of morel mushrooms or fennel. Good, but not mind-blowing.

      My friend had the braised beef rib, which was excellent - really succulent and served with an excellent sauce. He loved his entree.

      We shared two sides: a roasted asparagus with duck egg bearnaise and duck prociutto, which was excellent, and warm pie of swiss chard and sweet potato which was the bust of the evening. The pastry tasted like it was made in England, which isn't a compliment - thin, but heavy, and not flaky at all.

      We both liked the wine we ordered "E-I, E-I, O" a pinot from the Willamette Valley.

      For dessert, we shared the apple pie. I must say, I am kind of shocked that this has gotten all the accolades on CH that it has. It was good, but I was disappointed. The top crust was kind of gooey and cinnamony and good - that was the best part. The apples were in very large pieces and weren't thoroughly cooked (I like the apples in pie to be cooked soft) and the crust was rather heavy and ponderous, not light and flakey like it should be (OK, like my mom's was). I wouldn't really go out of my way to recommend it, nor would I order it again.

      So I think the BDT is a good restaurant (service was excellent), but only for the well-heeled. I didn't think it was worth what they are charging.

      I guess I'm jaded...

      Blue Duck Tavern
      1201 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

      6 Replies
      1. re: woodleyparkhound

        I've generally liked the food I've eaten there, but my fiance once ordered a manhattan with Woodfield Reserve and they charged him $19 for it. They broke it up on the bill, too - $15 for the whiskey and $4 for Vermouth.

        I'm not very price sensitive when it comes to food but Blue Duck's alcohol upcharges are near-criminal. I haven't been back since the manhattan incident, which is unfortunate because I actually think the food there is worth the money.

        1. re: reiflame

          Yes... my friend was rather upset because they charged $22 for an after dinner drink he always gets, which is typically $12 in other places.

          1. re: woodleyparkhound

            Yeah; $22, unless you're talking something made with 30 year old scotch, is ridiculous.

        2. re: woodleyparkhound

          Oooh, that's too bad. I've had the apple pie three times, and the apples have never been undercooked - always very soft. They were in very large pieces, though, as you say. Crust has been flaky, but definitely thick. I've never had cocktails there, only wine.

          1. re: Raids

            Another thing that bothered me about the apple pie was that the filling was dry - just large pieces of apple, really. I like there to be some juiciness, some runny-ness to the filling, in addition to the apples.

            1. re: woodleyparkhound

              Also totally not my experience. That's really kind of crazy. To explain, my husband is a total food traditionalist, and he is *serious* about apple pie. It better be like grandma's, or it's an atrocity. And he loves their apple pie. When I've had it, the filling was, texture-wise, utterly like those buckets of corn-syrup-y apple pie filling you can order from food service suppliers, only it didn't have that phony-guey consistency, it wasn't gross-tasting, and the apples were, like you describe, in large pieces.

        3. I absolutely hate the apple pie here. I think it is awful, but normally there are a lot of people that speak to the contrary. But I grew up with an Amish Nanny and have very distinct tastes that skew toward Amish/Dutch versions of baked goods. (Any woopie pie with marshmallow to me deserves shaming)

          I also think the roast meat is where you kind of have to go to be happy on the menu... It is what they do really well. And their portions on this tend to be large. If you want fish you should go to Corduroy or Proof. If you want excellent big roast meats, this is the place. Sorry you were disappointed. I think if you go here in the winter wanting a heartier meal you have better experiences. This time of year I tend to not want the things they do well. They do very nice brunch though year round. It just doesn't normally tend to be food I crave in Spring/summer.

          I do very much like it though, just for certain things.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ktmoomau

            My companion's braised beef rib was excellent - but I thought the portion was quite small.