Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring Menu at Blue Duck Tavern

*Sponsored Post
We joined Executive Chef Ryan LaRoche and Chef de Cuisine Brad Deboy to celebrate the season's freshest ingredients from regional artisans and producers and sampled some new menu items that showcase the return of spring. These new regionally sourced additions are featured on Blue Duck Tavern’s a la carte lunch and dinner menus, including fresh herbs harvested from the restaurant’s own Terrace herb garden.  Closest Metro is Foggy Bottom.

On the Terrace, we enjoyed passed bites including Blue-Crab Hushpuppies with an Old Bay remoulade; White Asparagus Soup with lemon creme fraiche and bergamot oil; and Rabbit Mousse with gooseberry compote and peanut brittle.  My favorite bite was the asparagus soup.

We also sampled some great cheeses selected by Sophie Slesinger to include a cow cheese called Green Hill from Sweet Grass Dairy, GA; goat cheese called Cabra La Mancha from Firefly Farm, MD; Cabot Clothbound Cheddar from Jasper Hill Farm, VT; and Ewe's Blue from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, NY. This buttery pasteurized sheep cheese was our favorite and married nicely with the apricot butter.

Chef LaRoche notes that mint and fresh peas are two ingredients that have influenced his new Spring menu at Blue Duck Tavern.  A vibrant example is in the Spring Pea Salad with farm cheese, lavender honey preserved lemon, and spiced peanuts.  It was crispy, crunchy, and bright.

Other newcomers to the lunch menu include Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Old Bay remoulade, and a pickled spring vegetable salad; Cured Carolina Mountain Trout with citrus, jalapeño, and trout roe; Butter Crunch Lettuce Salad with crispy grains, shaved torpedo onion, and green goddess dressing; Roasted Lemon-Brined Organic Chicken with potato hash, leek, and mustard jus; Suckling Pig Sandwich with braised greens, chow-chow, and beer mustard; Pan-Seared Blue Catfish with tabasco aioli and crab hushpuppies, as well as Wood Oven-Roasted Duck Confit Leg with strawberry rhubarb marmalade and spring vegetables. Prices range from $12 to $17 for starters and $20 to $36 for entrees.

We also sampled Slow-Roasted Porchetta with andouille, farm vegetables, and bourbon jus.  Chef Deboy explained he uses pork about 8 different ways in this dish, and then cooks it on low heat for about 18 hours.  Keith thought this dish was the star of all the ones we tried.

For dinner, other stand out dishes on the new Spring menu include the Smoked Beet Salad with Ewe’s blue cheese, candied walnuts, beet relish, and sherry vinaigrette; Beer-Braised Bouchot Mussels with house-made andouille and smoked potato; Foie Gras Custard with gooseberry compote, peanut brittle, and country Bread; Crispy Pork Head Cheese with red pepper hollandaise; Chicken-Fried Wild Quail with sweet pepper relish, as well as Seared Diver Scallops with carrot puree, shaved pears, fennel, and toasted hazelnut, and Crispy Skin Salmon with braised artichokes and morel mushrooms. Prices range from $12 to $18 for starters and $27 to $36 for entrees.

Lastly, Pastry Chef Naomi Gallego showed off a decadent dessert spread including White Chocolate Lime Push Pops (my favorite); Hazelnut Chocolate Ice Cream Bars; Strawberry Rhubard Hand Pies; Russicher Zupfkuchen Bars; Peanut Butter Jelly Bars; and Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Shortcakes.

All in all, we really enjoyed the new Spring menu from Blue Duck Tavern, and especially liked dining on the Terrace. Check out the new seasonal offerings, and look out for the residential ducks!

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