Spring Has Sprung At The Blue Duck Tavern
Spring has arrived in the Nation’s capital and that means happiness all around. People are cheery, there’s music playing in the streets and terraces are open for outside dining. Unlike Europe, there aren't too many options, but the few establishments that do have them, really stand out, like the Park Hyatt's Blue Duck Tavern. And guess what folks, their beautiful sunken patio that includes a blue mosaic fountain (where sometimes you'll see a duck sunning itself) is now open! (cheers all around.)
To herald the warmer temps and sunnier days, the highly acclaimed Blue Duck Tavern, known for its innovative american cuisine, hosted a Media Terrace opening on its al fresco veranda, which showcased this Georgetown restaurant's spring menu. And I will tell you right now that it was a delicious feast for the eyes (and palates).
Executive Chef Ryan LaRoche, Chef de Cuisine Brad Deboy and Executive Pastry Chef Naomi Gallego prepared a myriad of savory dishes and desserts, respectively, which included the scene stealer head to tail Porchetta, the simply delicious and nutritious Spring Pea Salad and the sensational White Chocolate Lime Push Pops.
I invite you to come and discover these seasonal cocktails and dishes from these culinary geniuses at Blue Duck Tavern, which I can attest will put a pep in your step and a smile on your face ;-)
Upon arrival, we were all offered spring-inspired cocktails and my personal favorite wine, rosé. The two libations presented were the District Snap (snap pea, mint and rum) and the Mellomaro (aperol, whiskey and sparkling wine). Both were good, but I preferred the District Snap. It was zesty and refreshing. The 2014 dry rosé of sangiovese of Alexander Valley Vineyards (not pictured) was my drink of choice for the evening. Beautiful in color, this rosé, had an enticing nose and flavors of watermelon, strawberry, peach with a hint of minerality.
Chef de Cuisine Deboy's Slow-Roasted Porchetta will have you drooling just at the sight of it. Brined in-house for 13, yes, 13 hours, this roast had four layers of pork, which included andouille sausage. And each slice was a piece of heaven, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, so tender in fact that you all needed was a fork to cut through it. Topped with farm vegetables and bourbon jus, each bite left me wanting more. This was one of my favorite dishes of the soirée. ( I had one, I mean two, if that is any indication ;-)).
This crowd pleaser, Spring Pea Salad, was literally, as Executive Chef Laroche stated, "spring on a plate." Whipped ricotta, lavender honey, preserved lemon, spiced peanuts and snap peas created an absolutely scrumptious mélange.
One of the several amuses bouches that were passed around were these delectable Blue-Crab Hushpuppies. Perfectly fried croquettes with a sizable amount of blue crab hidden inside and topped with old bay and remoulade were a hit. These really should be Maryland’s national appetizer. Just sayin'
I have to be honest, I was a little wary when I learned that this appetizer was rabbit (not my favorite type of meat) but I was pleasantly surprised. The Rabbit Mousse was velvety, the gooseberry compote made the tasty bite sweet and the peanut brittle topping added a little grit.
As a caseophile, the American Artisanal Cheeses station brought me pure joy. Exclusively picked by Blue Duck Tavern's cheese monger, Sophie Slesinger, these four delectable cheeses (with a dollop of apricot jam) were: Green Hill (Cow, sweet, Dairy, GA), Cabra La Mancha (Goat, Firefly Farm, MD), Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (Cow, Jasper Hill Farm, VT) and Ewe's Blue (Sheep, Old Chatham Sheepherding Co., NY). My two favorites were the Cabra La Mancha (it was extremely luscious) and Green Hill (creamy to a tee). And, yes, I consumed all of that fromage ;-)
If I ever have to choose between savory and sweet, I almost always choose savory, unless it's a dessert from Executive Pastry Chef Gallego. These golden strawberry rhubarb hand pies topped with crystallized sugar were a culinary masterpiece that intertwined flavor and texture.
Push pops were a fad in the 90s, so I was particularly excited to see that this was one of the dessert choices . These luxurious White Chocolate Lime push pops were incredible! The chocolate and lime combination was decadent and delicious. A truly sublime treat to end the night.
So, in short, I highly recommend you make a reservation, either for brunch, lunch or dinner, at Blue Duck Tavern. I promise you, it'll be a memorable meal in a beautiful setting!
Thank you so much to Heather Freeman, Blue Duck Tavern, Executive Chef Ryan LaRoche, Chef de Cuisine Brad Deboy and Executive Pastry Chef Naomi Gallego! I am already counting the days until I return :-)