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Most Duck for your Dollar? (Tasty too please!)

a
Andrassebestyen89 Aug 2, 2010 09:10 AM

Hi,

I am experiencing a terribly strong duck craving. Whenever I eat duck breast at restaurants, I always notice I pay a lot of money (which isn't the biggest issue) for very little duck, and end up hungry after my meal.

Where can I find the largest portion duck breast? A big hearty duck meal is all I need! (Probably with appetizer and dessert as well, but whose counting calories!)

Thanks!

  1. r
    RGR Aug 2, 2010 09:32 AM

    I highly recommend the duck at EMP. True, the 3-course dinner prix fixe is $95. But that cost includes Chef Humm's signature duck for two which, imo, is the most fabulous duck on the planet. They carve it tableside, you and your partner each get a huge breast, and the dark meat is served on the side in a foie gras cream.

    In addition to covering your first course and dessert, your $95 gets you all of EMP's "bells and whistles": hors d'oeurvres, gougères, amuse, and macarons. You will definitely not go away hungry!

    Service is outstanding, and the room is gorgeous!

    Imo, the best bang for your duck buck!

    Photos of one of our many dinners at EMP that includes the duck: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157624114058011/

    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

    10 Replies
    1. re: RGR
      ellenost Aug 2, 2010 09:55 AM

      I second the duck at EMP; it's my favorite duck dish. EMP did change the second course of the duck (no longer in the foie gras cream that was fabulous); I can't remember the specifics (dark meat confit in a square with something (onions(?)) on top--it wasn't as great as with the foie gras cream, but I was too full from the delicious duck breast to mind too much).

      For first courses, I highly recommend either the heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella ice cream and basil granola or the artic char with slices of pickled cucumbers, creme fraiche and the toppings from an "everything" bagel.

      1. re: ellenost
        r
        RGR Aug 2, 2010 10:17 AM

        From your description of the duck dark meat, it sounds as though they've gone back to serving it in "cake" form. I also see on the on-line menu that the accompaniments for the duck are now peaches and turnips.

        Re: first courses

        At lunch, it's Balik salmon that is accompanied by the pickled cucumbers, crème fraïche, and the "everything bagel" crumbs. I'm not a huge fan of arctic char, but I do adore Balik salmon, as does Mr. R. Chef Humm has spoiled us so that now when we go to Russ & Daughters, we get Balik salmon instead of nova.

        The photo of EMP's Balik salmon dish can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157624442045339/

        The Rabbit Rillettes with Foie Gras is seriously delicious! The photo can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        1. re: RGR
          ellenost Aug 2, 2010 10:25 AM

          As much as I my sister and I loved the spring duck preparation at EMP, we loved the summer (peaches and turnip) even more! EMP earlier in the summer listed peaches and fennel (which wasn't "wowing" my sister). She loved the duck so much that she helped me finish my plate!

          As usual, I love your photos! The artic char was "chunkier" than the Balik salmon. The corn soup look lovely! I'm having a tough time planning our mom's lunch later this month at EMP (everything sounds wonderful). Big question: should we order the chicken (for 2) or the lobster?

          1. re: ellenost
            r
            RGR Aug 2, 2010 12:03 PM

            Thank you for being such an ardent fan of my photos, ellenost! :)

            If you have not had the chicken for two, no question -- go for it!!

            While I liked the current lobster dish, as I commented on the photo, it is not my favorite Chef Humm lobster preparation.

            Imo, though it is lighter and less filling than the lobster, the seared scallop with succotash is not-to-be- missed! You could actually have it as a first course before the chicken or the lobster.

            Is your sister going to be with you?

            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

            1. re: RGR
              ellenost Aug 2, 2010 12:12 PM

              Yes, my sister is joining us too! The scallop dish looks wonderful. I think I'll have the Balik salmon, followed by the scallop, and share the chicken dish with either my mother or sister (or if they both want the chicken, I'll order the lobster or the beef). Too bad EMP doesn't have the duck (or some variation of it) on the lunch menu.

              1. re: ellenost
                r
                RGR Aug 2, 2010 02:42 PM

                ellenost,

                The chicken breasts are huge! Plus, there is also the side dish of dark meat fricassee, not exactly a teensy portion. The last time we had the chicken, both Mr. R. and I ate half and took the other halves home, along with some of the fricassee. So, I would suggest that you consider asking that the chicken be split among the three of you (the bird is taken back to the kitchen for carving, so they can easily do that). And since you will need a third main course dish, choose one for the table.

                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                1. re: RGR
                  ellenost Aug 2, 2010 02:49 PM

                  That's a great idea RGR! I didn't realize that the chicken could be split for 3. Maybe the beef dish (somehow I don't think the lobster would work as well).

      2. re: RGR
        u
        uwsister Aug 3, 2010 05:38 PM

        Of course I love EMP's duck, but for the MOST bang for your duck buck - Safran in Chelsea. $35 three-course prix-fixe and they give you a ridiculous amount of delicious duck. The chef used to work at old Monsoon in UWS, in case you remember that place. Their desserts are pretty good too.

        1. re: uwsister
          squid kun Aug 4, 2010 07:47 AM

          Something's changed at Safran. It's now called Jasmine, and I think the menu's different.

          -----
          Legend
          88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

          1. re: squid kun
            u
            uwsister Aug 6, 2010 03:04 PM

            Wow - really? Is the chef still Laura Lam? I'm bummed to hear about it!

            EDIT:
            Just looked it up - I don't think the chef is still there. The menu's totally different. Generic American-Chinese stuff. I'm SO bummed. *sigh*

            Bring back Monsoon! ::: cries :::

      3. f
        fm1963 Aug 2, 2010 09:46 AM

        Babbo serves sliced roast duck breast over duck leg confit. Very tasty and substantial. Well priced too, IMO.

        3 Replies
        1. re: fm1963
          a
          Andrassebestyen89 Aug 2, 2010 02:19 PM

          Thanks this duck does look nice. The EMP duck is for two, thus two members of the party must share it, and unfortunately my girlfriend is vegetarian.

          Other suggestions also still appreciated. Thanks.

          1. re: Andrassebestyen89
            f
            fm1963 Aug 2, 2010 02:30 PM

            Also try the duck at Casa Mono. Not as hefty as Babbo, but still a respectable portion and very delicious. There are vegetarian items on the menu as well.

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            Babbo
            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

            Casa Mono
            52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: Andrassebestyen89
              r
              RGR Aug 2, 2010 02:54 PM

              Cafe Boulud may be Daniel Boulud's second-tier restaurant, but in every way, it is first-rate. Chef Gavin Kaysen is putting out some of the most delicious cuisine to be found anywhere in the city. There is a wonderful duck breast dish on the current menu, and main course portions are generous. The other great thing about Cafe Boulud in your particular case is that one of the 4 menus, Le Potager, focuses on vegetarian dishes. Service is polished and the atmospherics are lovely.

              Cafe Boulud menus: http://www.danielnyc.com/cafebouludNY.html#cbny_menu

              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

          2. r
            rrems Aug 2, 2010 06:27 PM

            I recently had the Tuesday night special at Lupa, a roasted half duck. It was delicious and a very large portion.

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            Lupa
            170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

            5 Replies
            1. re: rrems
              a
              Andrassebestyen89 Aug 3, 2010 06:39 AM

              Would a roasted half duck include breast also?

              1. re: Andrassebestyen89
                f
                fm1963 Aug 3, 2010 06:51 AM

                Yes the Lupa roasted half duck is served in its entirety (not sliced) with the breast and leg intact.

                The agrodolce served on top can be a bit sweet for some but easily pushed aside, The duck is indeed deliciously crispy and worth a Tuesday reservation.

                -----
                Lupa
                170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                1. re: Andrassebestyen89
                  r
                  RGR Aug 3, 2010 06:53 AM

                  Never been to Lupa, but whenever a half roasted duck is on a restaurant's menu (and I've had many), it includes the breast. If you just got the leg and thigh, that would be only a quarter of the duck.

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  1. re: RGR
                    a
                    Andrassebestyen89 Aug 3, 2010 07:33 AM

                    While I've been to most of the restaurants mentioned above, I haven't been to Lupa. The EMP duck is delicious if not a bit expensive, and Casa Mono is one of my favorite places for unplanned dinners. How are the other dishes at Lupa?

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                    Lupa
                    170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                    Casa Mono
                    52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                    1. re: Andrassebestyen89
                      f
                      fm1963 Aug 3, 2010 07:46 AM

                      The cacio e pepe and carbonara are exceptional, and so are the vegetable antipasti and escarole salad. I haven't had any of the cured meats, but lots of tables seem to order a platter.

                      Among the mains, I've had (and loved) the duck, skate and saltimbocca. The tartufo, panna cotta, and spiced dates with mascarpone are also amazing, so save room for dessert.

              2. iluvcookies Aug 3, 2010 09:05 PM

                Chinatown will give you the most duck for your buck... that is the first place I think of when I hear duck.

                1 Reply
                1. re: iluvcookies
                  d
                  davisready Aug 5, 2010 07:57 AM

                  Agreed. I always hit up the Peking Duck House to satisfy my duck cravings.

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                  Peking Duck House
                  28 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                2. varsel Aug 5, 2010 06:41 AM

                  Wow, I can so related to that craving. I went to bobo in the west village last week and had duck as a starter and as a main! I shared the starter with my husband and it was duck accompanied by chard leaves, pickles and a spicy sauce that you assembled yourself. The duck was so soft and tender - so good!
                  Then I ordered their breast as a main. It came with a date puree, chorizo and hazelnuts - so amazing. Juicy, tasty - I will def come back again and again for that! It was $29 which I think is reasonable for such great quality meat. I know bobo only sources from local and ethical farms. I am sure you can get more breast for your buck in Chinatown, but I have no idea what kind of meat that is...
                  I did some research after my visit and found a video of the bobo chef making the duck!
                  http://ozersky.tv/2010/07/bobo-duck/
                  Also, they have a blog:
                  http://bobonyc.tumblr.com/

                  Report back what you think if you go. I'd be curious to hear another duck overs review.

                  1. sgordon Aug 5, 2010 12:25 PM

                    While EMP is as fabulous as everyone says, for something that gives you a lot of duck bang for a few less bucks, I'd hit Henry's End in Brooklyn Heights (Chow won't post a link below bc we're on the Manhattan board) - there's a whole duckling on the menu (boned out for your convenience) that's always spot-on. Very simple preperation, just a perfectly crisped duck and seasonal fruit reduced in the jus. Sometimes you don't need anything too fancy - just a plate full o' duck'll do.

                    There are a few vegetarian options on the menu, but Henry's End is a very meat-centric restaurant. If she's one of those vegetarians that occasionally cheats and eats fish, though, there's a lot of good stuff to choose from.

                    1. meatme Aug 6, 2010 09:23 PM

                      Buy a half or whole duck at Noodle Town or similar place in Chinatown. Discard everything but the breast if you wish. You'll have lots of delicious duck and be way ahead of the game price-wise. They also serve apps, plus a complimentary orange half for dessert.

                      Enjoy!

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