Restaurant Review: Blue 44

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting a small restaurant in DC called Blue 44. A friend, whose husband happens to be the executive chef, had recommended it. I arrived a little after one in the afternoon with my teenage daughter, not sure what to expect. A peek at their menu on-line had me intrigued. The restaurant is decorated in dark tones with an elegant yet homey feel. Mirrors covering one wall make the space look twice as wide as it is. In fact, having been seated on the opposite side of the room, I didn’t realize they were mirrors until I got up to leave. An elderly couple was having a quiet meal in the back and several families with young children sat at tables near the front.

A smiling waiter handed us the single page menu attached to a piece of corrugated cardboard with a bull clip. This completely recyclable innovation made me smile. I had been expecting something more upscale and less approachable. While humble in its presentation, this menu contains many simple yet elegant dishes. Even though the menu is small, there were a variety of appetizers, salads, and entrees to choose from and all sounded delicious. We perused the descriptions of burgers, grilled cheese, ribs, as well as papardelle with wild mushrooms. Appetizers were priced from $4 for the deviled eggs to $10 for the mussels, and entrees ranged in price from $12 – $19. They also have a separate kids menu.

We wanted a light meal, so we focused on the appetizer section of the menu. After toying between the Sweet Potato Biscuits and Wild Boar Sausage appetizer and the Calamari Appetizer, I finally went with the Calamari and an arugula salad. My daughter, Debra, chose the Fried Oysters.

Debra’s Oysters were served surrounding a small mound of greens. Not a huge fan of tartar sauce, she did enjoy the cucumber tartar sauce which was artfully drawn on the plate emphasizing the circular pattern of the oysters. Each oyster was perfectly fried and seasoned, with a crisp outer coating yet smooth and tender interior.

My senses were treated by the wonderful aroma of rosemary as my plate arrived. The sautéed calamari was deliciously tender and served over a smooth polenta expertly seasoned and prepared with fresh herbs and smoked mozzarella. The sauce was creamy with a hint of tomatoes and more fresh herbs. I didn’t leave a drop behind. The arugula salad was simple, with just enough lemon vinaigrette to add flavor without overpowering the dish.

I would highly recommend this restaurant for its excellent food and cozy atmosphere. By the way, I got to sample some of those humble deviled eggs later in the afternoon. Yum.

Blue 44
5507 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington DC, 20015
202-362-2583
Check their web site at blue44dc.com for hours and directions.
They do have a small parking lot behind the building.

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About A. L. Kaplan

I am a writer, artist, and parent.
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