The Blue Duck Tavern at the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C., is ready for autumn with a menu full of new interpretations on comfort food—Milk chocolate S’mores with toasted fluff, caramelized banana smoked pecan graham streusel, anyone?—that will warm you up on a cold day while giving you a tour of fall throughout the states.
Maybe it was the dreary, rainy day, or the fact that it finally felt cold enough to be fall, or just the incredibly welcoming interior but whatever it was my first visit to the Blue Duck Tavern was one of warmth.
The soft yellow lights combined with the wood and white gave the interior a warm glow and an inviting and cozy feel while still having an air of sophistication.
Dinner served family provided a way to try a variety of dishes from nine different states and British Columbia.
We started with a Baby Kale Salad, is there a restaurant without kale on the menu these days? The salad with shaved onions parmesan cheese and balsamic dressing was my favorite of the appetizers. The kale came from Path Valley, Pennsylvania and wasn’t too bitter while still tasting healthy.
Other first plates included smoked trout from Asheville, North Carolina with crispy potatoes, pear, gribiche, Crispy Veal Sweetbreads from Huntsman, Virginia with creamy wild mushrooms, hen egg, parsley and Seared Foie Gras Terrine from the Hudson Valley, with charred pineapple jam toasted brioche.
Then it was on to the seafood dishes. I cheated on Stonington scallops with Seared Maine Diver Scallops with stewed tomatoes, crispy ham bock and pickled okra. They were tender, sweet and delicious. Easily, my favorite of the main dishes. The crispy skin salmon with the smoked red beet purée and organic vinaigrette from Skuna Bay, BC was another option I’d recommend. The crispy skin gave the salmon less of a fishy taste than normal. The other seafood dishes included Oven Roasted Monkfish from Massachusetts and Toasted Barley Risotto from South Carolina.
By this time I could of gone straight to dessert but we were only at the meat course. The Wood Oven-Fired-30-Day Dry Aged New York Strip from Creekstone Kansas with king trumpets, béarnaise sauce, and Wood Oven-Roasted Quail with corn bread, grapes, and summer truffle jus from Greensboro, Georgia were my favorites. Both very tender and quail wasn’t gamey. I was looking forward to dessert, we’re already seen the menu, and knew I’d be too full if I sampled the 12-hour roasted sucking pig from Eco Friendly, Virginia (although the name has sparked my curiously about the town), roasted cauliflower baby leek salad and wild mushrooms.
For dessert out came a coffee soda float with white coffee ice cream and a tobacco sugar doughnut, that’s right tobacco sugar doughnut. It was the most unique of the dishes and while decent a bit bitter overall. The other unique dish was the hay ice cream. It gave off a black tea smell and tasted like vanilla with a hint of wheat. If I hadn’t been told it was hay I don’t think I would’ve known and knowing it was hay made it more intriguing. There was also apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream, the milk chocolate S’mores, toasted full, caramelized banana smoked pecan graham streusels, and toasted barley panna cotta with apple cider caramel compressed apples cheerios malt rocher and cinnamon caramel foam.
And then as a goody bag there was macarons. That’s right macarons. Ready to dive into autumn?