Blue Duck Tavern Unveils Spring Menu
Last night, the Blue Duck Tavern at the Park Hyatt Washington, 1201 24th St. NW, unveiled its spring menu and opened its 45-seat terrace for al fresco dining. The terrace is nice for an intimate dinner on a mild spring evening before the heat, humidity and mosquitos return to the DMV.
Executive chef Ryan LaRoche and chef de cuisine Brad Deboy’s new menu items showcase the return of spring. The regionally sourced additions include fresh herbs harvested from the restaurant’s terrace herb garden. The items also feature many different kinds of pickled vegetables made in house.
Prominently featured on the spring menu are peas – in both the spring pea salad with farm cheese, lavender honey, preserved lemon and spiced peanuts and in the District Snap, which is basically a snap pea mojito made with snap peas, mint and rum. The pea salad was tasty, but pea in the mojito was a bit out of place and too earthy for my taste. There’s also a glazed sugar snap pea side dish.
The highlight of the new menu was the slow-roasted porchetta, which is brined in house for 13 hours. The Italian pork roast has four layers of pork including andouille sausage in the center and crispy pork belly on the outside. The crispy pork belly was the best I had tasted, almost like crisp bacon holding the succulent layers of meat together. We also sampled the tasty blue crab hushpuppies, which are a side to the new pan-seared blue catfish with tabasco aioli, the white asparagus soup with lemon crème fraiche and trout roe, which is a soup of the day; and the foie gras custard with gooseberry compote and peanut brittle on country bread, although what we were served was made with rabbit instead of duck and had a very strong liver taste.
Dinner menu additions include smoked beet salad with ewe’s blue cheese, candied walnuts, beet relish and sherry vinaigrette; beer-braised Bouchot mussels with house-made andouille and smoked potato; crispy pork head cheese with red pepper hollandaise; chicken-fried wild quail with sweet pepper relish; seared diver scallops with carrot puree, shaved pears, fennel and toasted hazelnut; and crispy skin salmon with braised artichokes and morel mushrooms. Dinner prices range from $12-$18 for starters and $27-$36 for entrees.
Newcomers on the lunch menu include jumbo lump crab cake with Old Bay remoulade and a pickled spring vegetable salad; cured Carolina Mountain trout with citrus, jalapeño and trout roe; butter crunch lettuce salad with crispy grains, shaved torpedo onion and green goddess dressing; roasted lemon-brined organic chicken with potato hash and leek and mustard jus; suckling pig sandwich with braised greens, chow-chow and beer mustard; and wood oven-roasted duck confit leg with strawberry rhubarb marmalade and spring vegetables. Lunch prices range from $12-$17 for starters and $20-$36 for entrees.
Blue Duck Tavern is open for breakfast from 6:30-10:30 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5:30-10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Weekend brunch is served from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.