There are some places that you simply must go. Places where they have no definition for a bad meal. Places were negative adjectives are unknown; where bad flavors do not exist. Places were dissatisfaction is an anomaly. Blue Duck Tavern is one such place. From the moment you walk in to the moment you walk, the employees dedicate themselves to the making the patron’s experience not only amazing, but seamless. Drinks and food disappear and appear as if by magic. Like butlers trained in the ancient art of service, the servers are present at all the right times and even more importantly they are absent at all the right times: they are ninjas. Even more importantly, when the servers are present you are struck with a certain warmth. These are not college biding their time until their shift is over, students unable to find jobs in their field, or disgruntled servers who never moved into management. The servers at the Blue Duck Tavern are those rare animals who actually enjoy their jobs and it shows. Every time they refill a drink, serve a dish, or describe anything on the menu or off, they absolutely beam with happiness. As a former server this behavior was both astonishing and pleasing.
I had the good fortune to visit Blue Duck Tavern for my birthday. Not only will I never forget the experience, it is one that I will measure all others by. The menu changes seasonally or based on what can be obtained from the local farmers markets. Prior to my visit, I studied the menu like I was preparing for the MCAT.
Walking into the Blue Duck Tavern, I was unprepared for the warm opulence of the decor. We were seated at the chef’s table, which gave us an excellent view of the entire restaurant. More importantly, we had the privilege of watching as all of the food was prepared.
The food was nothing short of perfection. We started off with the veal sweet breads. My brother had never tried them, and was surprised that they weren’t actually sweet or a bread. After he got over the shock, we both found the sweet breads to be tender, succulent, and all together tasty. They reminded me of the fried chicken livers and chicken giblets that we used to get in Mississippi dressed up really fancy.
We also ordered the XXX I had never had the dish and was excited to try something new. I was expecting something akin to pate. This was more like a distant cousin, not totally foreign, but not pate. The dish was pleasant, but not earth shattering. I think I just prefer pate.
For our entrees I ordered the Blue Duck Tavern’s signature roasted Muscovy Duck, which was nothing short of perfection. From the presentation, to smells, to the flavor – this dish was a delight to the sense.
My brother ordered the Bone in Beef Rib. The is possibly the most tender beef that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The only reason that it is served with the bone in, is to watch the meat fall off the bone, seemingly in slow motion. The meat was perfectly seasoned.
To accompany our entrees we ordered a goat cheese tart and risotto. My brother, who habitually maintains that he does not enjoy goat cheese, inhaled the tart. I got one maybe two bites, blinked, and it was gone. It was like a magic show. The Risotto: made with golden rice from the Carolinas, seasoned with Parmesan cheese and sage, didn’t last much longer.
As a surprise, our server – a professional in every sense of the word, surprised us with the signature Blue Duck Tavern aged twice fried french fries. The were fried in duck fat. I’ll let that sink in for a moment, before continuing. These french fries literally make you feel like you’re tasting a slice of heaven. Light, airy, starchy, they were amazing. No visit to the Blue Duck Tavern is complete without trying their fries. They’re that good.
Finally we had desert. I ordered the flourless chocolate cake, while my brother ordered the apple pie with a side of vanilla ice cream. My chocolate cake was served flame. While the presentation was impressive, the cake itself might have been the only minor failing of the entire meal. It simply did not hold up to the other dishes we were presented with that evening. My brother’s apple pie also had a spectacular presentation. It looked a most formidable fortress, that needed to be breached. Topped with brown sugar and served with vanilla ice-cream, the apple pie was an incredibly joyous task to undertake. I wanted to try it, I really did, but by this point I was contemplating unbuttoning my pants. I was that full.
If I haven’t sold you on Blue Duck Tavern yet, then there is no hope. The price tag on this meal, though high, was worth every penny. The meal was amazing from head to toe. This is not the place you go for an everyday meal, rather this is where you go to celebrate special moments. Or perhaps it is where you for an everyday meal .