Wow and Mmm may well have been the only two words/sounds Dan or I said during our brunch at Blue Duck Tavern a few weekends back. It really was that good–and I couldn’t be more pleased that we wound up there to celebrate my birthday.
Blue Duck is a bit pricier than some of the DC hot spots, but it’s worth the extra expense for the amazing food and ambiance that it provides.
The open kitchen is such a cool touch to a restaurant, and adds an inviting atmosphere to an upscale eatery. We loved how you could watch the chefs and actually walk through part of the prep area.
But let’s be honest–the real winner here was the food. Hands down. And it doesn’t hurt that Blue Duck Tavern sources much of their food from local farmers and butchers.
Not surprisingly, we started off with our go-to with Bloody Marys. I went for the traditional Bloody, while Dan opted for the Chesapeake Caesar–which had clamata juice and an Old Bay rim. Mine was actually a bit tomato-y, but the Chesapeake Caesar was DELICIOUS! The perfect amount of spice and flavor.
Next up were the oysters: a California variety with a particular briney flavor served with mignonette and a lemon. We’re both huge oyster fans, and these did not disappoint. At $3 a pop, we stuck with one each, but it was a great way to kick off the meal.
My entre was probably the best brunch entre I’ve ever had. The baked eggs with oil preserved tomatoes, cured tuna roe and creme fraiche served with crispy french bread and a light salad was to die for. The sweet, rich egg yolk mixed perfectly with the salty roe and the bold tomatoes. I don’t know that I’ve ever had baked eggs before, and I’m sure my next order won’t live up to this one. We’re going back to Blue Duck for dinner when my mom is in town in April, and I might just ask if they can add this dish to the dinner menu for the day.
As soon as I saw the menu, I knew that Dan was going to get the short rib hash with an olive oil poached egg and served with a horseradish sauce. The egg was cooked perfectly, and the meat was tender and flavorful. Definitely another winning dish.
As if our entrees weren’t enough food, we also ordered creamy blue cheese polenta. The polenta was perectly smooth, and the blue cheese added a bold and unique flavor.
And then there was the biscuit. I had been eyeing the biscuit on the table next to us when we sat down, but couldn’t find it on the menu. I thought that maybe it was part of the homemade croissants and jam basket, so we considered ordering the bakd treats to start the meal. It was probably a good decision not to–since the meal was served with the same big, flaky buttermilk biscuit that I had been drooling over. We’ve both spent plenty of time in the South, and this biscuit certainly did the region justice. Buttery, soft, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth good.
But we weren’t done yet. Because you can’t celebrate a birthday without some dessert. We were tempted by some of the richer dishes (who wouldn’t be tempted by a chocolate cake with Maker’s Mark flambe or a milk chocolate and banana s’more?), but were already so full from our first few courses that we opted for the lighter blood orange sorbet instead. Little did we know that this “light” option would actually be three huge scoops served in an enormous glass bucket. We were surprised by how much flavor was packed into the sorbet, and were very impressed by the dish.
And because our waitress had heard us talking about my birthday, she brought us a complimentary apple pie–the restaurant’s specialty dessert. Not that we needed the second dessert, but it didn’t stop us from diving right in. The apples inside were sweet, tangy and delicate–and the crisped top was the perfect textural contrast.
I can’t offer enough praises to Blue Duck Tavern. It’s certainly a different experience from your Masa 14-type brunch, but this is up there at the top with the best of DC brunches. The service is a tad slow, but you will barely notice while you Ooh and Aah over the food.