If you’ve been keeping up with us, you’ll know we visited Duke’s and reviewed them for a quick happy hour about a month ago as part of our “Quick Sips” series (psst. you can find that post here). However, we’ve returned a few more times since then and wanted to extend our original review.
We’ll echo something we said in our previous review, during summer at Duke’s timing is everything. We prefer eating outside which means there is sometimes a bit of a wait for one of the long shared tables, especially if you’re with a group of 2 or more. Sometimes, you’ll get ushered inside for a drink and wait until the hostess comes and get you, other times you wait patiently out front, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll walk up riiiight when another group is leaving.
However, waiting inside isn’t all too bad. Although I, (T) originally huffed and puffed when we had to wait inside, it actually turned out to be a fun and cozy experience. The interior is reminiscent of a slightly hipster-in-a-good-way pub. It is a bit tight, but it’s usually easy to find somewhere to squeeze into and grab at least 1 or 2 seats at the bar.
As a huge fan of small bites, it has been hard to part with the ooey, gooey yummy truffle mac and cheese which is basically a dinner if you don’t share it with anyone else. As a heads up, there is a LOT of cheese. I mean a lot. As a cheese lover and avid-eater, I usually can’t finish it all off. In fact, there is usually more yummy cheese than pasta. E had the fab idea of asking the leftover mound of cheese to be boxed and then saving it to eat with a slice of baguette or to top a burger at home. So, don’t worry you won’t be wasting any money on this $10 treat.
Speaking of small bites, I (E) also recently tried out the corn. It was SO GOOD. Along with everything else Duke’s has, it’s always on point. It’s a big portion for a “side” so it’s perfect for sharing. If you get it for yourself (like I did), you’ll have enough to take home for later. A few weeks later I also had the right proper burger (not my first time) and definitely won’t be my last. It’s the perfect combo of sweet and savory that you’d want in a burger. The only downside is that it doesn’t come with any fries (or other sides). It’s super filling so you don’t necessarily need one, but I am never one to turn down extra food.
Although, there is no happy hour pricing on food at Duke’s (which is a tad unfortunately) it never stops us from getting something to snack on. The small plates/appetizers are perfect for sharing if you’re looking to keep your tab under $20 total.
Not to mention the inventive cocktails! Although I haven’t veered too much from my Pimm’s preference (hey, can you blame me, Pimm’s is tough to find in the USA!) I have found that it really depends on the bartender who makes it. I’ve ordered it on about 3 different nights and have noticed that sometimes there are these unexplainable (at least to E and me) little seeds in the bottom of the drink. Not every time…but some times! I prefer them without and they appear to be an extra kick of flavor not mentioned on the menu but implemented by the bartender. I’ve also sampled their well-drinks and I think their well-liquor is a little better than most. The gin & tonics I’ve ordered were delicious, crisp, and light and came with a huge slice of lime, which is always appreciated.
E here, just wanted to give my thoughts on the blackberry bourbon lemonade. As someone who is not typically a bourbon fan (and still isn’t), I was pleasantly surprised by the drink. Firstly, it was in a massive glass which, who doesn’t love getting the most bang for your buck? And, it was filled to the brim with blackberry and delicious lemonade. While it’s not something I could drink every happy hour, I’d definitely order it again.
I’m sure we’ve said this a million times already but we (and everyone else in dc) can’t get enough of Dukes. We haven’t been yet for a typcical sit down dinner upstairs but we’ll be back for one (and brunch) soon!