How does the crab cake at Blue Duck Tavern keep itself together? Shaped from what appears to be only sweet seafood and fresh chives, and cooked just to take on a golden veneer, the dish is a marvel of simplicity and good taste. I feel the same way about the American restaurant’s pulled-pork sandwich, paprika-red meat paved with pickled okra and completed with airy pork rinds on its plate.
Side dishes are impressive enough to take center stage, and desserts riff on childhood memories. I’m thinking of toasted farro tossed with tiny peas, slivered almonds and lemon oil, and a glamorous s’more composed of chocolate mousse, bruleed bananas and soft meringue piping.
Shaker-style furniture and handsome quilts create a restful backdrop to the assured, farm-to-table cooking of the Texas-born, French-trained Sebastien Archambault. If you’re searching for a place to suit a meat-and-potatoes type and a food lover, here’s the happy medium.
Blue Duck’s service remains some of the most polished in the city. When a server figures I might be done with a course, she doesn’t ask, “Are you finished working on that?” but rather, “Would you like to move on?”