2012 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012
Blue Duck Tavern is the Kate Upton of Washington restaurants, a natural beauty that beckons with clean lines, streams of light, and a front-and-center kitchen that has been turning out terrific American food since the arrival of chef Sebastien Archambault from Los Angeles last winter. Before every upstart started bragging about its friendship with farmers, this hotel venue was introducing diners to the producers behind the ingredients. True, they might not all be from right next door, but crisp sweetbreads from Pennsylvania and sweet scallops from Maine are certainly alluring when they’re paired, respectively, with boozy peaches and soft peppers, and pickled mushrooms and tomato relish: James Beard channeling Martha Stewart. From the wood-fired oven come split bones with garlicky marrow for slathering on toasted bread. From the pastry kitchen comes one of the best apple pies you’ll see outside an Amish farm stand. The staff reads its guests like books; before you think you might need an extra plate or more wine, a smiling someone appears at your side. If I were a restaurateur looking for staff, I’d start my poaching here.
Breakfast for six was the worst restaurant meal we have ever swallowed. Over-salted, over-greased. over-priced left-over slop. The portions were small, but we supposed we were fortunate considering the food. The service was slow to hovering, with poorly trained servers, occasionally hawked by persons in black with need-to-improve English skills, considering the echoing volume of table talk. I did not bother to criticize because, when I was able to get the bill, we had 45 minutes to get to the opera. What a rip-off.
One plus: Excellent disability access.
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