Tag Archives: Georgetown

A Memorable Lunch at Blue Duck Tavern

As a summer associate at a law firm, I was lucky enough to go out to many fancy lunches over the past 2 months.  But at the end of it all, the one lunch that stands out most in my mind is Blue Duck Tavern, for its truly spectacular yet unpretentious American cuisine.

The interior is distinctively American, perhaps to reflect its cooking.  Old-fashioned rocking chairs and an open-style pantry greet guests at the front reception.  The expansive dining room features dark oak and wood paneling, and feels elegant without being stuffy or overly formal.

The meal began with the watermelon gazpacho, which I recently waxed poetic about in a previous post.  For my main dish, I  ordered the chilled lobster salad with frisee, avocado, grapefruit, and honey citrus vinaigrette ($15).  It was truly a delightful summer salad, featuring a substantial amount of lobster.  The honey citrus vinaigrette accented the sweetness of the lobster, and highlighted the citrus notes from the grapefruit.  Beautifully presented, and perfectly executed.

We shared a couple sides as well.  The roasted asparagus ($10), topped with bacon, a hard cheese (perhaps parmesan or grana padano), and egg was crisp and slightly charred on the outside, and perfectly seasoned.  Surprisingly, the daily harvest vegetables ($9) were also delicious.  I was expecting your typical boring sauteed vegetables (which is probably why I didn’t take a photo), but what arrived was a gorgeous plate of buttery sugar snap peas and carrots.  The simple preparation–butter, salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs–really highlighted the freshness of the vegetables.

Of course, we had to order the infamous hand cut BDT triple fries ($10), which are quite extravagantly fried in duck fat.  We felt a bit miffed when only a handful of fries arrived at the table, but be warned–a few fries are more than enough.  The fries are very thick-cut and rich, yet not greasy at all.  Definitely worth ordering if you have never tried duck fat fries, but not a dish for the faint of heart or calorie-counters.

I’ll admit we went a bit crazy on desserts.  But at $9 each for a sizeable, delectable portion, the desserts at Blue Duck Tavern seem to be a good deal.  Though I glanced over this at first, the milk chocolate banana s’mores ended up being my favorite of the three desserts.  It was more of a deconstructed interpretation of a s’more, with crumbled graham crackers on the bottom, a caramelized banana custard, and a homemade marshmallow on top.  The marshmallow was blowtorched just before arriving at our table, and had slightly smoky flavor, which accentuated the caramelized banana custard nicely.  Overall, it wasn’t an overly sweet dessert, which is what I normally think of when I think of s’mores.

The chocolate cake with sour cherries was quite decadent and fudgey, but nothing too memorable.  I did enjoy that it was served warm, along with the cold whipped cream on the side.

The apple pie was much larger than we expected, and easily could have been shared by 4 people.  I loved the caramelized sugar on the crust, which added a divine crispiness.  The apple filling was much tarter than usual, and in my opinion, a bit dry.  I like my apple pie filling gooey, or smothered in a bit of just-melted vanilla ice cream.

If you are looking for someplace to host a special meal, Blue Duck Tavern should certainly be your pick.

Blue Duck Tavern
1201 24th St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 419-6755
Blue Duck Tavern on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Upscale Thai at Bangkok Joe’s

I am always on the lookout for decent Thai food, and was quite surprised when a friend (who lived in Thailand last year) recommended Bangkok Joe’s to me. Bangkok Joe’s is located on a touristy stretch of Georgetown’s Waterfront, which houses several outdoor bars and restaurants that turn out mediocre food, overpriced drinks, and one of the most fratastic scenes in town.

Bangkok Joes, though, seems to be the exception. The interior is modern and classy, with dim lighting, sleek booths, and Asian accents adding to the ambience. A dumpling station filled with huge steamers dishes out plates of delectable-looking dumplings while patrons sip on colorful cocktails at the bar.

My boyfriend and I arrived at about 9 p.m. on Friday night and were seated promptly at a booth inside (the outdoor tables were packed). We started with an order of pork ‘n crab shu mai ($7.50), which in hindsight, may have been a mistake to order at a Thai restaurant. The shu mai were much bigger than usual and filled to the brim with pork and crab. But in the end, they were just ok–nothing too memorable or mind-blowing, plus they were twice the price of regular shu mai. Maybe we should have gone with something a bit more Thai-inspired; but for reasons I’ll mention later, I would actually skip the dumplings altogether next time.

For our main courses, we ordered the panang curry noodles with grilled shrimp (a whopping $17.95–but worth the price) and the chicken basil rice bowl ($12.95). Panang curry, not to be confused with its spicy red curry counterpart, is sweeter and creamier due to its use of coconut milk and peanuts. Bangkok Joe’s version tasted both traditional and modern: it certainly had a lot of peanuts and coconut milk, but somehow, it tasted lighter and fresher than other versions I’ve had. The addition of steamed spinach and bean sprouts gave nice color and crunch to the dish, while the grilled shrimp seemed to be just an afterthought. And those rice noodles–wide, chewy, and yummy–soaked up the curry perfectly.

At $17.95, this dish was not cheap by any stretch. But, the portion was huge and it did last us for 3 meals as leftovers!

The chicken basil rice bowl ($12.95) may not look too tasty–but in this case, looks can be very, very deceiving. The dish was a hodge podge of ground chicken, green beans, scallions, Thai basil and bell peppers stir-fried in a spicy chili-garlic-basil sauce. Talk about complex layers of flavor–this dish had tons of them. There was crunch from the green beans, sweetness from the bell peppers, heat from the chicken, and subtle spice from the sauce, all of which came together for a flavor-packed bite. It was simply delicious. And once again, the portion size was so substantial that we had to take home plenty of leftovers.

Bangkok Joe’s stands out from its Waterfront neighbors for its upscale Thai cuisine, large portions, and good value. Next time you find yourself stranded on the Georgtown Waterfront with an empty stomach, head straight to Bangkok Joe’s where both your tummy and your wallet (and your fridge at home) will be satisfied.

Bangkok Joe’s

3000 K St.

Washington, DC 20007

(202) 333-4422

Bangkok Joe's on Urbanspoon

Share/Bookmark

Mie N Yu’s Blind Tiger Menu: Decadence at a Discount

Mie N Yu always seemed, to me, to be a place that wouldn’t be worth the money. The restaurant occupies an expansive space on a busy, high-end stretch of M St. Dark windows show glimpses of the bronze Buddha statues and lavish decor inside to passersby. It exudes an aura of exclusivity to say the least, and perhaps some pretentiousness, and that combination usually does not bode well for the quality of the food.

With that skepticism in mind, I warily accepted Mie N Yu’s invitation to try their new Blind Tiger Tasting Menu. I never refuse an offer for a free meal, and plus, the concept behind the menu intrigued me: the Blind Tiger is the name of a prohibition era speak-easy, and to channel that spirit, Mie N Yu offers this “underground,” $25 three course  menu only to people in the know. Those people could be their followers on Twitter (@mienyu), Facebook friends, or even readers of this blog!

Despite my skepticism, I have to say that I was very impressed with Mie N Yu–especially with the quality of the food. Their menu (and the entire restaurant for that matter) is inspired by the Silk Road, which means lots of Asian flavors and ingredients. My boyfriend and I started off with sunomono blue crab salad and zaatar hummus with ful–perhaps our two favorite dishes of the night. The salad was fresh, light, and perfect for a hot and humid DC evening. The earthy flavors of the edamame and soba noodles tempered the tartness of the pickled quail eggs, and a lovely rice vinegar dressing brought out the natural sweetness of the blue crab.

The hummus with ful was thick and smoky, flavored with just the right amount of zaatar (a Middle Eastern spice blend). Ful, a Middle Eastern condiment of Egyptian fava beans braised with roasted tomatoes and various spices, added an exotic element to the dish. Olives and warm naan bread were nice accompaniments, though I did wish the serving of bread had been bigger.

Our second courses were less memorable than our first. Though the Beijing style lacquered duck seemed to be a favorite among fellow food bloggers, I was less than impressed. The duck (sourced from a farm in PA) was very tender and tasty, but I prefer traditional Peking duck with its crackling skin and intense caramelized sweetness. I also found the “mandarin pancakes” to be more reminiscent of tortillas. The char masala lamb kabobs were not my favorite either. I was impressed that the lamb was locally raised in Virginia and ground in-house, but it had a strong, gamey aftertaste. The roasted coriander yogurt served with the lamb helped mask the flavor a bit, but not completely.

For our main courses, we ordered the Pakistani cinnamon and ginger striped bass and the Indonesian chicken “rica rica.” The bass (pictured above) was baked in a yogurt casserole, and the rice was rolled and soaked in the yogurt prior to cooking. As a result, both the bass and the rice were mouthpuckeringly tart. This was quite a surprise for my boyfriend and me–we both expected a mildly spiced, delicately flavored fish. The dish took some getting used to, but after a few bites (and plenty of sips of water), I was able to move past the sourness and taste the cinnamon and the ginger. It’s not necessarily a dish I would order again and again, but it’s certainly worth trying at least once.

The Indonesian chicken “rica rica” was deceptively delicious. At first, I thought the sauce was too mild, but after a few bites, I could taste the sauce’s complex, layered flavors. Sweetness came from shrimp paste, heat came from red peppers, and a slight tartness may (don’t quote me on this!) have come from tamarind. The chicken was cooked beautifully, and fell off the bone.

For dessert (which is not included in the Blind Tiger deal), we splurged on a pecan chocolate croustade with Sumatran cinnamon gelato and fresh berries. The croustade was out-of-this-world good: a warm, flaky pastry crust belied toasted pecans and just a touch of chocolate on the inside, drizzled with local Virginia honey. Eaten with the cinnamon gelato (made at Dolcezza just up the street), the dessert reminded me of a warm cinnamon roll. It was a decadent ending to a decadent meal.

Other random notes about the meal: be prepared to wait a while for your food. Just like Two DC found, there was a long lag between courses. But, that may just be part of the dining experience at Mie N Yu–it certainly gave us time to walk around the restaurant and enjoy the opulent surroundings. I didn’t mind at all, but if you’re pressed for time, I would head elsewhere. Our server was also very knowledgable and attentive, which I appreciated.

Though it’s difficult to remain objective at free meals like this, I can (objectively) say that the Blind Tiger menu is a great value: $25 for three generously portioned, well-prepared courses in a lavish, over-the-top restaurant like Mie N Yu is a steal. And, bottles of wine listed on the Blind Tiger menu are 50% off, and the most expensive bottle is only $28. (I recommend the Cono Sur Pinot Noir from Chile, despite the cheesy name.) I had a fabulous Blind Tiger meal at Mie N Yu, and hopefully, yours will be just as delicious and decadent.

Mie N Yu

3125  M St. NW

Washington, DC 20007

(202) 333-6122

For the Blind Tiger Menu, online reservations must be made between Sunday and Thursday.

Mie N Yu on Urbanspoon

Share/Bookmark

The Georgetown French Market Apr. 23-24

If you were planning to splurge on a spring trip to Paris, put those wallets away because Paris is coming to you, DCers! On April 23-24 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the Book Hill neighborhood of Georgetown is transforming into an open-air French Market selling everything from grilled merguez sausages, fresh baked baguettes, decadent pastries, and more. The market will span from along Wisconsin Ave. from P St. all the way to Reservoir Road. Nearby boutiques and restaurants will also participate, with some giving up to 70% off to customers. Personally, I’ll be stopping by Cafe Bonaparte, which will offer $4 sweet and savory crepes all day along with a coupon for a “free coffee with a purchase of a crepe.”

Conveniently that same weekend, Dean & Deluca will be hosting their Taste of Dean & Deluca event (which I wrote about here). So for those unpaid gourmets looking for a weekend of indulgent yet affordable eats, head to Georgetown for these two free and fabulous events!

Taste of Dean & Deluca Apr. 24-25

Dean & Deluca, the venerable gourmet shop long considered to be the epicenter of epicurean excellence, presents Taste of Dean & Deluca on April 24-25. From 11 a.m.-5 p.m., customers will be able to sample seasonal delights and enjoy live music in the store’s outdoor cafe. The ad did not specify what “seasonal delights” will be available, but personally, I hope they’ll offer those delectable macarons (pictured on left) and their phenomenal cheeses.

Though Dean & Deluca’s luxurious fare is usually out of our price range, that won’t be the case during Taste of Dean & Deluca: admission to the event is complimentary. To all the unpaid gourmets out there: mark this free foodie event down in your calendar!

Taste of Dean & Deluca

3276 M. St. NW

Washington, DC 20007

202-342-2500

April 24-25, 2010

11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Dean & Deluca Cafe on Urbanspoon

24 Days of Dining

Dining room at Georgia Brown's

If you’re looking for an affordable but indulgent way to celebrate the holidays, look no further than Capital Restaurants’ 24 Days of Dining. From Dec. 1-24 between 5-8pm nightly, you and your guests can enjoy a 3-course meal plus the chef’s choice glass of wine for $24. Participating restaurants include: Georgia Browns, J. Pauls, Paolo’s, Old Glory, Neyla’s, and Third Edition.