The Basic Ducking Burger (with lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo), alongside dolled-up fries with green curry and tamarind chutney and a mango lassi Credit: Photo by Deb Lindsey

First the bad news: Duck Duck Goose, the charming, 35-seat French bistro that chef Ashish Alfred opened in Bethesda in 2016, is no more. Now the good news: Alfred, who was born and raised in Montgomery County and still lives here part time, has replaced it with a burger concept called Good Ducking Burger, which opened Oct. 1. 

Chef Ashish Alfred Credit: Photo by Deb Lindsey

Alfred explains how he came to this decision. “My other Duck Duck Gooses [in Baltimore and D.C.’s Dupont Circle] are working just the way I want them to in terms of service, food and revenue,” he says. “But with everything being more expensive now, especially labor, and losing the 25 patio seats when the season is over, the situation became untenable in Bethesda.” GDB still has table service and a full, but pared back, bar. Fine china is out; aluminum trays are in.

Alfred has always wanted to do a burger concept that blended his Indian roots with his French cuisine training and tried out the concept successfully as a ghost kitchen at DDG Baltimore last year. The menu’s beef smashburgers are available as single, double or triple “fatty patties” (as Alfred calls them), all served on brioche buns.  

I enjoyed a sneak peek and taste this summer at DDG Dupont Circle, and it was all I could do to restrain myself while watching him make the signature Good Ducking Burger, griddling the bun and two patties, draping the meat with melting American cheese, then assembling the masterpiece with house mayo and sriracha-based “sexy sauce,” lettuce, tomatoes and onions and smashing the whole thing one more time to meld all the flavors. Eating it was a gloriously messy and satisfying affair. The verdict? The burger is (rhymes with) ducking good!

Ashish Alfred in the kitchen making burgers Credit: Photo by Deb Lindsey

Other winners at GDB include a burger made with truffle butter, Gruyere cheese and caramelized onions, and another (Walks Like a Duck) that has shredded duck confit worked into the beef patties. That one gets topped with Gruyere and pickled red cabbage. There’s a killer fried chicken sandwich (“butter chicken on a bun,” says Alfred) dressed with makhani (spicy tomato and cream) sauce, housemade pickles, and three chutneys (cilantro, tamarind and raita). For a vegetarian offering, Alfred griddles and smashes two cumin-y vegetable samosas (like empanadas, these made with potatoes, peas and onions) into patties and tops them with griddled paneer and three chutneys. Don’t miss the fries topped with makhani sauce, chutneys, sexy sauce and loads of chopped cilantro. Burgers range in price between $14 and $18.

This story appears in the November/December issue of Bethesda Magazine.