Restaurant Review: Duck Duck Goose
New Bethesda bistro Duck Duck Goose shows promise
Especially in the main courses, Alfred’s adeptness at French technique is evident, but it is often interspersed with sloppiness. Yes, the potatoes accompanying a beautifully cooked filet of beef are cut into perfect tiny cubes. Yes, the slice of foie gras crowning it had been neatly hatch-marked before being seared correctly to medium rare. Yes, the red wine reduction is rich and glossy. But brownish spinach-and-broccoli purée is cold and superfluous.
Chicken cooked under a brick is served with broccolini, roasted potato and grilled lemon in the restaurant’s chicken Forgione.
Ruby red slices of duck breast are flavorful, but edged with bands of thick, flabby skin that was not rendered of its fat. Soft-shell crabs, lightly dredged in flour and sautéed, turn out to be wonderful—but only after I send them back due to oversalting and they are remade. (The restaurant further addressed the error by removing the entrée from my bill.)
Halibut fillet and scallop mousse baked in puff pastry is not easy to pull off, but here the fish is moist, the mousse fluffy, the pastry crisp.
But its lemony apple purée is cold and difficult to get to around the inside of the straight-edged bowl in which the dish is served.
I’m not a fan of eating out of these dog bowl-like receptacles. A 36-ounce, bone-in, sliced rib eye for two crammed into one of them is unappetizing and unmanageable. This majestic steak requires transfer to a chop plate. Likewise, the chicken Forgione (juicy, ultra-crisp-skinned chicken that’s been cooked under a brick).
Dessert at Duck Duck Goose is an afterthought; only two are offered. Skip the dull profiteroles and order the raspberry Napoleon, a trio of crisp, multilayered puff pastry rectangles layered with fresh berries and vanilla pastry cream. It’s a crowning rendition of a classic. If Alfred sharpens his focus on every dish like he does on this one, Duck Duck Goose could become a gleaming gem. He’s a chef to keep an eye on.
Duck Duck Goose
7929 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda, 301-312-8837, www.ddgbethesda.com
David Hagedorn is the restaurant critic for Bethesda Magazine.