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May 27, 2012 02:17 AM

[Portland] Duckfat

The much touted Duckfat does, indeed, have much going for it and it is deservedly popular. We were fortunate in the time we arrived for lunch, about 12.30 as we were shown straight to two of the very few seats remaining. Within minutes, the queue had built to what we overheard was a 40 minute wait (good or not, we would not have waited 40 minutes for any sandwich lunch – or, indeed, anything)

There’s a good vibe to the place. The sandwich menu reads well with lots of combinations that sound as though they’re going to work. Unfortunately, the meatloaf one that we both chose was something of a disappointment. You’d always expect the main ingredient to shine through but it was a bit bland and overwhelmed by the other ingredients (onions, cheddar and relish). Still the fries were truly excellent. And so was the mustard mayo that we dipped them in. And so were the house-made sodas – one mint & lime, the other grapefruit and ginger.

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  1. We stopped at Duckfat today. Interesting menu. The sandwiches we had were great (although I wished for a real plate instead of the little bamboo board they served it on, not to mention a real glass to drink out of rather than a little jar with big threads.) Soup we had was also great. Salad my neighbor had looked great. (Wish I didn't have such a good view of her salad, not crazy about the tight counter-only seating, it's not a comfortable place to eat.)

    The fries, I don't get the big deal, seems like a gimmick. They were just fries, no special flavor imparted by the duck fat and they weren't crisp enough for my taste. The "truffled ketchup" tasted like regular ketchup. Meh.

    3 Replies
    1. re: snippet

      I wonder if they accidentally gave you regular ketchup. My experience has been that the truffle ketchup had a definite pronounced truffle flavor.

      1. re: snippet

        we have been to duckfat maybe 4-5 times over the yrs (we live in boston). I think i love their cream of tomato fennel soup more than anything(one of the top 3 soups i've ever had.) IMO, the fries are a bit of a con, because they only use 25% duck fat (the rest is your imagination). That said, they have almost always been really tasty for us. snip, our experience of the truffle catsup was exactly yours. We have unfortunately learned over the yrs that you can almost place a very safe bet on the fact that 'truffle tater tots', 'truffle catsup', truffle yadayada- will conatin a mote's worth of 'truffle' and usually in the form of some very substandard truffle oil. I bet 'truffled' has enabled quite a few gas bills and/or mortgages to be paid. But, as truegrid said, they do make an outstandng aioli at DF.

        Btw, does anyone know if rob still owns duckfat or did he sell it when he sold hugo's? This may ruffle some feathers, but after having a few dinners with way- too- small portions (for the very large price) at Hugo's a few yrs ago, and then seeing the price he was getting for fries cooked in only 25% duckfat, I decided that ron had a very precise plan in place to retire young to St Barts....

        (and I say this as someone who firmly believes that chefs are grossly underpaid and never make significant money unless they become a national franchise........ ) Rant over. sorry. Still curious to know if he's retired....

      2. its really meant for people who enjoy the vibe and the friendly aspect of the place. In contrast to your experience, we found the fries very crispy, even thought we actually took it out, and did not eat them till 20 minutes later --the aioli sauce was great. We also had sammies - roast turkey and BGT - bacon , goat cheese and tomato - along with vanilla bean shake and root beer float - all was good, it was almost too much food, could really have split the sammy. One look out- they over salted the fries, soI would ask for them to go easy on the salt if you order them