What I love about Blue Duck Tavern is the decadence from beginning to end. From salads to sweets each dish is a culinary work of art; as tempting for your eyes as it is for your palate. With a new Executive Chef at the helm, Troy Knapp, and a new seasonal menu available, this is the time to visit this iconic DC venue again.
Blue Duck’s latest menu is no exception to this rule of decadence. Kick off your meal with a trio of salads to share. One is the baby gem lettuce salad, where delicate, bright green leaves are adorned with browned onion rings and dressed in a savory ramp and pecorino sauce. Equally as good is the smoked beet salad where the beets mimic beef tartare, from color to texture to plating. Crowned with bright orange sections and served with crisp country bread, this dish will entice even the most reluctant beet eater. Finally there is the most seasonal of all, the pea salad which hosts a trifecta of peas: pea pods, pea shoots, and pea sprouts. Almond butter adds a creamy element, while a citrus chili dressing brings heat and acidity.
Next: the cavatelli is my current favorite entrée with pasta is swirled in a heady brown butter sauce and dotted with peas and ricotta. Roasted wild mushrooms with earthy black garlic are also delicious and oven roasted asparagus is another seasonal hit.
And then we move on to my favorite part of the meal at Blue Duck Tavern: dessert. Erin Reed, Blue Duck’s pastry chef, is a dessert genius. Her sweets are reminiscent of your childhood dreams, with the artistry and attention to detail of a true culinary wizard. Her coconut tapioca is pictured above; this stunning dessert is a whirlwind of flavors with cubes of carrot cake, curried nuts and all spice pineapple sorbet. Sweet, spicy, nutty and earthy; this dessert is heavenly. It’s also available vegan!
Chocolate lovers should definitely order the chocolate cake, which has layers of cake and malted pudding. The real treat in the dish however is the hunks of rice crispy treats, crunchy and sweet and oh so satisfying. Smoked vanilla ice cream adds depth of flavor, but fellow vegetarians beware of the caramel which is not vegetarian! You can get the dish without it.
For those who are wondering where Blue Duck’s famous apple pie is, the dish has been replaced by a morello cherry cobbler. Don’t worry, this cobbler is up for the challenge of replacing the pie. Tart and luscious, the filling is summer in your mouth and the crumbly, sweet crust is the prefect contast to the silky filling.
But wait, there’s more. I saved the best for last. The strawberry parfait, with its funfetti cake and bubblegum foam, its sunny colors and delightful textures, is easily this summer’s best dessert. It will remind you of every happy strawberry-filled childhood memory, and really, what’s better than a dessert that can make you feel like a kid again?