Shaking Duck Butt Burrito?
Anybody tried the Mexican place (Viva la Raza?) that replaced the late lamented Shaking Duck Butt in Glen Burnie?
Had I only known about this place! I would have absolutely gone out of my way to eat at the Shaking Duck Butt.
OK, so call me impatient. I went tonight to check it out.
Decor - largely unchanged, with the exception of sombreros and the flags of Mexico and Central American nations replacing the Korean-themed wall decorations.
Food - Quite good. I had the Mole Poblano, and it was wonderful, consisting of a good portion of moist bone-in chicken napped in a magical mole sauce and sprinkled with what appeared to be sesame seeds, with a good portion of rice and some nice warm tortillas on the side. Mole is one of those things that is really easy to do badly, but when done correctly, it's a true delight.
I also got an order of three sopes (one topped with a verde sauce with dry white Mexican cheese grated on top, one with a roja sauce and cheese, and one with a black bean topping with cheese). The sopes were fairly large, and the three of them would make a meal for somebody with a normal size appetite. The chips and salsa were also quite good.
If I had to compare to another local Mexican place, I'd say La Sirenita would be a fairly even comparison, as far as style and quality of food. The decor leaves one with the impression of a slightly "nicer" place than the minimalist storefront decor of the La Sirenita outposts.
Menu - A very nice feature is that the menu is fully illustrated with photos of each and every dish or item, probably to assist the waitstaff who may not speak English well. I'd say that based on the dishes I ordered, the photos seemed pretty accurate in terms of what you get, both in appearance and portion size. If anything, the sopes were noticeably much bigger than the photos would lead one to believe.
Peculiarities - If you ask for water, you will get bottled water and a glass, not the usual glass filled with tap water that most of us have come to expect. Perhaps a nod to the "don't drink the water" conditions of parts of the intended clientel's native countries? Note: No insult intended. The potable water issue in some parts of the world is a fact of life, and I could see how being presented with a glass of tap water might be seen by some who grew up in those conditions as a sign of a lesser establishment. That said, for us Anglos, ordering water with the meal is not the "budget" option, so you might want to check out the other possibilities.
The other strange moment of the night (TOTALLY unrelated to the merits of the restaurant) was when a small (OK, "scrawny" is the right word) Hispanic fellow in a University of Texas baseball cap who was seated with friends at another table let loose with a weird, piercing, high-pitched, manic giggle that was a near-perfect recreation of that made famous by Frank Gorshin in his role as "The Riddler" on the old Batman TV show. Those who remember Gorshin's trademark Riddler laugh from that show know what I mean when I say that it's an unsettling thing even when one knows it is coming, and to have it burst out in such unexpected circumstances sort of weirded me out.
Poignant moment: While I was devouring my meal, an older Korean woman and a young fellow I took to be her teenage son or grandson came in. She looked puzzled at the sound of the Mexican music, and she looked increasingly distressed as she repeated the Korean name of the old Shaking Duck Butt, and the waitress tried to explain "No more. They closed. This is Mexican." Unfortunately, the only common ground between Korean customers and the Mexican waitress was their mutual tenuous grasp of English. It made for an oddly heart-rending scene. And again, no insult intended toward any of the parties involved. I have the greatest respect for those who take on the task of learning a new language in a new country.
It's a half a block or so south of the intersection of Ritchie Highway and B&A Blvd. in Glen Burnie, on the east side of Ritchie Highway (assuming that Ritchie is North/South at that point). It's between a car stereo place and an auto dealership, across the street from Le Fountaine Bleu. I think the name is now Viva la Raza (apologies if that's misspelled).
Actually, the place was called Ori Geung Daengi (or something like that - transliterating from the Korean alphabet is imprecise). The sign had the Korean name in Korean characters, with a cartoon duck in a red shirt shaking its butt at the viewer. Picture in your mind one of Donald Duck's nephews mooning you , and you have a decent idea of what it looked like. I had been trying to tell somebody about the place, and they asked "What's it called?". At that point, it dawned on me that I didn't know.
The next time I went, I took a chopstick wrapper or a carry-out menu or something with me, and I brought it to a guy I work with who has a Korean wife. He was able to tell me how it was pronounced, but he wasn't confident about his translation. He said "This doesn't make sense - nobody would name a restaurant what I think this says. Let me take this home and ask Han Ok." The next day he came back, and shaking his head, he said "She said the same thing I thought it said - it's 'shaking duck butt' or 'swinging duck butt'. She says the words used imply that somebody or something looks like a rear view of a duck waddling. Maybe it's a joke about how the owner walks or something."
I seem to recall that others on Chowhound independently pursued translation, and the consensus was that on this board, if you said "Shaking Duck Butt", everybody would know the place we were talking about. I took some pictures of the signage the night I found out they had closed. I figured that somewhere down the road, I'd need photographic proof that there once was a place called "Shaking Duck Butt"!
Despite the odd name, it was pretty darned good Korean food, and I'll miss it. Given the loss, though, I'm pleased to see that it's at least been replaced with a restaurant that's also pretty goood, based on first impressions. It would have been doubly tragic if a good restaurant with such a unique story to it had been replaced by a mediocre dive.