Duck, Duck, Roots at Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, DC
March 19, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC, US – Though it’s ensconced in the sexy Park Hyatt Washington, designed by the ultra-urbane Tony Chi, and frequented by DC‘s political elite, Blue Duck Tavern manages to be an authentically “folksy” dining experience. A meal here whisks us to America’s heartland through its rustic décor and down-home American dishes with a modern twist.
Dark oak floors, blue burlap accents, and handcrafted wooden furniture (including a 29-foot Windsor bench) impart a “farmhouse chic” aesthetic to the space. The wood-burning oven at the heart of the open kitchen serves as a warm, homey focal point. In addition to wood-oven roasting, the kitchen also prizes time-honored cooking methods including braising, preserving, and smoking. Each dish on the menu is listed alongside the farms from which the restaurant procured the fresh ingredients. All of this adds up to a countrified atmosphere that you’d expect more in an agrarian homestead than in the urban tangle of our nation’s capital.
The menu itself reflects those folksy sensibilities yet elevates American classics to elegant fare. Dishes like leg of venison, wood-roasted bone marrow, and quail with cornbread read like the spoils of a good hunting trip. Selections like smoked trout, braised beef ribs, and roast suckling pig round out the meaty choices. As we’d expect given the restaurant’s name, the roasted Muscovy duck breast and hand cut triple fries (thick potato wedges fried in, yes, duck fat) are standouts. But vegetarians: don’t despair. Farm-fresh roasted vegetables, shaved root vegetable salads, and hearty grain dishes like barley risotto will keep you more than satisfied sans meat.
Dessert? It’s as American as apple pie, natch. You can order a house-made apple pie for two or equally all-American sweet selections like a plate of sugar cookies or milk chocolate s’mores. For “healthier” eaters, the root cake sundae (vanilla bean ice cream over carrot-sweet potato cake with pineapple-ginger compote) adds some antioxidants to the sugary mix.
The dessert is a distillation of what Blue Duck Tavern does so well: Americana “roots” cooking with a gourmet groove. Like that children’s game “Duck, Duck, Goose,” we’ll gladly sit for a meal of duck, duck, roots!
Read more about Blue Duck Tavern in our Washington, DC Guide.