Just in time for the holidays and winter season, executive chef Adam Howard has added hearty, warming dishes to Blue Duck Tavern’s dinner menu. The restaurant at West End’s Park Hyatt is known for its focus on wood-burning cooking techniques, with ¾ of the menu prepared using the wood-burning oven, and regionally-sourced ingredients.
These new seasonal dishes can be ordered for one as an entree size, or large format to be shared among the table. The latter option plays into the restaurant’s communal dining experience, where the open kitchen and separate Chef’s Table offer plenty of opportunities to gather, share and enjoy regionally-inspired dishes in a convivial atmosphere.
New to the menu are hearty and rich dishes, providing welcome additions at a time when DC prepares for the winter chill. To begin the meal, the baby gem lettuce (a menu mainstay) gets an autumnal twist with tasso ham-cured Georgia candy roaster squash, roasted black walnuts, pickled pink eye peas with a fried confit of pig ear, and is finished with a turmeric slaw dressing.
Other standouts from the appetizer selection include the foie gras mousse, a balanced blend of flavors and textures: rich foie gras with a light and airy presentation in mousse form. Paired with fermented mustard seed, charred green onions, miso ginger roasted pink lady apples, the mousse is served with johnny cakes – the perfect vessel to spread and enjoy the foie gras on.
For those looking to start off with a lighter appetizer, opt for the ocean trout crudo. Cured and sliced, it’s served with a tahini-sorghum puree, pomegranate fluid gel, salted cucumbers and fresh pomegranate seeds and Aleppo citrus salt.
Moving to entrees, guests have their choice of rich, flavorful dishes in line with Blue Duck Tavern’s reputation of turning out bold and savory offerings. Lamb fans will rejoice in a roasted lamb breast stuffed with house-made merguez sausage, which is then enveloped in Chinese mustard zaatar and other spices before being smoked. The result: a deliciously crisp exterior and layers of flavors within. Hummus, cucumber yogurt and harissa accompany the dish along with grilled-to-order sourdough naan.
A 100-day aged dairy cow prime rib offers extra depth in flavor than what is customary of a prime rib dish. It’s cooked sous-vide and then finished in an 800-degree wood-burning oven. A traditional Yorkshire pudding, creamed lacinato kale au poivre pickled fresno chimichurri and horseradish cream round out the dish.
Other additions to the Fall Menu include a seared sturgeon served with a vegetarian take on the traditional dirty rice, herb-roasted chicken brined and stuffed with herb butter, black garlic-buckwheat cavatelli with pasta made fresh in-house every morning and served with foraged forest mushroom and preserved kumquat.
To end the meal on a sweet note, pastry chef Colleen Murphy has added playful desserts such as a candied pecan custard paired with a concord grape sorbet, an elevated twist on the familiar peanut butter and jelly flavor combination. Chocolate lovers will naturally steer their attention to the stout espresso pot de creme, a delicate flourless chocolate cake with smoked salt caramel and malted milk ice cream. Both options hit the right, light note after indulging in heavier entree dishes.
To round out the evening, head to the garden terrace, dubbed the Fire Garden during the colder months, for after dinner drinks. Sip on hot cocktails and mulled wine by the fire pits and cozy up with blankets, wraps and extra heating lamps on hand to keep things toasty despite what the temperature reads, allowing the whole experience to keep diners warm at Park Hyatt’s restaurant in more ways than one.
Dinner is served Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Blue Duck Tavern: 1201 24th St, NW; 202-419-6755; www.blueducktavern.com