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“very very disappointing” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Blue Duck Tavern

Blue Duck Tavern
24 & M Streets, Northwest, Washington DC, DC 20037
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Ranked #9 of 2,623 restaurants in Washington DC
Price range: $40 - $50
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: 24 & M Streets NW
Transit: Foggy Bottom Metro Station - Orange and Blue Lines Dupont Circle Metro Station - Red Line
Description: Blue Duck Tavern, a contemporary neighborhood restaurant, invites its guests to gather and celebrate in good taste with a menu focusing on the freshest ingredients available from local purveyors and artisans. The menu notes every farm where the main ingredient for the dish was raised before its journey to the table. Dishes are genuine, time-honored and traditional -- slow roasting in wood embers, braising, preserving and smoking techniques bring the true flavors of America's great, simple and wholesome foods to the Blue Duck Tavern. The restaurant has an elegant residential feel through the open staff pantry and kitchen, wood-burning oven and the showpiece Molteni range.
arlington, va
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“very very disappointing”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2007

Having heard so much about the Blue Duck Tavern, I booked a Saturday night table for four to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday. It was a lovely June night, so we sat outside. So far so good - the restaurant has a very nice recessed outdoor area, large comfortable tables, fairly quiet despite being right off a main street, with a nice fountain to boot. We were nicely greeted, service was good. All vibes are good, we are in a good mood for our special celebration .....

Unfortunately, the meal was a total disaster. Not one single course or side was memorable. Most were far below average. The country bread came with a butter that was a dark shade of yellow none of us could identify, and whatever the restaurant was trying to do to it, it didn't work. The marrow appetizer was fatty and tasteless, the sardines were salt heaps. For mains, my chicken was decent but was in a cloyingly rich sauce. The sides of mushrooms and lima beans tasted of nothing but butter and salt. The sides of greens tasted only of oil. The short ribs were reported as tasteless. In fairness, the two who had the fish of the day rated it decent, but nothing special.

I'm used to spending fair amounts of money at restaurants. This bill was roughly $350 for 4 people. For that amount it is fair to expect alot, and the Blue Duck Tavern didn't even come close to delivering.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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725 reviews from our community

86% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
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English first
Washington, DC
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
“Hip, chic and great food!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2007

Agree with other reviewer that this is not your typical hotel restaurant. This place is hip, funky, and has good food to boot. Fun place to go with a group of friends, especially if you like to share meals.

The menu changes often based upon seasonality of food. Love the beet and goat cheese salad, but think that's off the menu now for summer. Fries are delish, cooked in duck fat! For dessert, I had the ice cream which was fabulous and comical at the same time: it arrives in a large glass beaker with a huge wooden spoon. But it tasted good...

The restaurant also has a nice lounge/bar area.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bethesda, md
Top Contributor
243 reviews 243 reviews
162 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“not your typical hotel restaurant”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2007

Wanted a fancy but not stuffy dinner with my husband and our best friends visiting from San Francisco. This turned out to be a terrific place. We went after work, had a drink in the lounge and then moved on to a very fun, creative and tasty dinner. We were seated next to the kitchen which provided visual entertainment. The restaurant wasn't loud and we were able to enjoy the conversation without straining our ears, but also laugh without feeling as if we were distrubing fellow diners. Tables were spaced far enough away so we had some privacy.

Service was terrific and well spaced. Food was delicious and a lot of it. This isn't your typical hotel restaurant - much much better and the servings are huge without turning you off. You won't leave hungry and you'll be able to share with your friends!!

Definitely a place I'd go back to - we had a bottle of wine, each had appetizer and entree, one side and one dessert between the 4 of us and with tax and tip it came to $100/each. Pricier than a quick bite, but a great deal for a nice,fancy dinner!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United States
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 83 cities Reviews in 83 cities
140 helpful votes 140 helpful votes
“Fun, fantastic, and just creative enough”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2007

Seeing the scathing review below, I just had to post. This is one of my favorite restaurants in the DC area. The service is excellent, if a bit casual, the food is delightful, fresh, simple, and perfectly executed. The tea menu is the only of its kind in the city. Try the ice cream-- amazing! I have eaten there perhaps 5-6 times and have always been delighted. My only complaint is it being difficult to get a reservation!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manassas, VA
Top Contributor
197 reviews 197 reviews
80 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 84 cities Reviews in 84 cities
675 helpful votes 675 helpful votes
“Excellent Food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2007

I had read several good reviews in The Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine and Bon Appetit Magazine about The Blue Duck Tavern and was looking forward to trying it for a long time.


It is located on the corner of 23rd and M Streets, NW (a little difficult to find only because there is no sign and the lettering on the door is almost imperceptible until you are right in front of it). We went on a Wednesday evening at just before 5 pm. The inside bar and outside bar are both open, they do not seat for dinner until 5:30 pm. This is a really nice part of town and very safe to walk around in the evenings. We had no trouble finding street parking on a weeknight/evening.


I felt the prices were in line with what you received. The portions were large and you could definitely do well by splitting an entrée and an appetizer.

The Bar/Lounge:

The inside bar is beautifully done with nice seating along the windows. We decided to sit in the outside bar/lounge area since it was a beautiful evening. While it is on a noisy street corner, the fountain in the corner of the lounge drowns out most of the street noise making it a pleasant experience. The furniture outside is nice with large tables and folding chairs with umbrellas.

The menu for the lounge area is relatively small; it's about 2 pages of wine, beer and drinks and one page of food. There were no real appetizer-type things on the menu except for the BDT Fries and Pot of Rabbit, which is something between a pate and a mousse. It's very rich and filling, even though it's a small portion. It comes with 3 small toasts, so be sure to ask for extra toasts when you order it. We did not have a reservation for dinner, but they were able to accommodate us when we went inside at 5:30.

Serving Staff/Hostesses:

The staff at this restaurant is on the formal/stiff side. They are all very pleasant, attentive and helpful, just cold and stiff. We had no problems with our orders, with special requests or with finding someone to help if we had a question or request. They were always quick to remove empty dishes and refill water and ice tea glasses.


The bathrooms are outside the restaurant, sort of in the office building and can be a little hard to find without explicit directions, but are beautiful inside. Each stall is it's own little bathroom with a sink and very clean.


The restaurant area has a mixed array of seating. We were in the area with a long row of small tables for 2. The aisle side has a chair and the window side has one long bench. I didn't find it uncomfortable and I'm picky about seating (and had been sitting in an uncomfortable hotel conference room chair all day prior to coming to this restaurant).

One wall area has handmade quilts framed on the wall. Everything is modern with clean lines and not cluttered but not sterile, either. It's not overly feminine or masculine and is appropriate for a business meeting, a date or meeting with friends.


The menu is not large and all of the choices are on the menu (no specials). We had the Duck Ham Salad (the duck ham was like proscuitto - you would not know the difference) and the Spring Pea Soup with Lobster Salad (which was a bowl of green pea soup -- not split pea soup -- with a lump of lobster salad -- lobster meat mixed with a mayo-type dressing -- and 2 morels in the middle). The soup was very tasty and it was a very large portion, enough for 2 to share.

We also ordered the Roasted Duck Breast and the Shank of Lamb. Both prepared and seasoned perfectly. Again, very large portions, each entree more than enough for 2 people at $23 and $29 each. For a side dish, we ordered the BDT Fries, which are fried in duck fat. I had read about this in the magazine and wanted to try them. They are $8 and worth every penny. They taste just like regular fries with just the right amount of salt and a hint of herb. They are not greasy; they are just very light and crisp.


This was without a doubt one of the best things about BDT. Many times when you go to a restaurant (and even a very good restaurant) the desserts are just eh. But I found the choices and the desserts themselves to be outstanding. I am generally a tea drinker and it was nice to see a nice selection of teas on the menu. The teas come in a large glass pot with a smaller pot of loose leaves that they insert at the table for steeping. It is a generous portion for (I think) $8. We also had the hot chocolate, also $8. It comes in a very large pot and I want to say it was about 4 cups. It was magnificent. Made with probably half and half and rich chocolate with a hint of vanilla, cinnamon and probably rum or bourbon. Very delicate hints of flavor behind the chocolate and just a magnificent way to end a meal. We also ordered the Flaming Bourbon Chocolate Cake. The cake is a regular devil's food cake made to order (it's small but enough for 2 people and only takes a few minutes to cook) and they bring it out and pour a shot of bourbon over it and light it. It takes about 45 seconds to burn out, but it's fun and tastes divine. You really don't taste the bourbon, it's really just a rich chocolate cake served very warm.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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