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Canard a la presse in Toronto?

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My mom requested canard a la presse for her birthday dinner. Does anyone know a restaurant that serves it and if it's any good? I had no idea what it was until I did a bit of research: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressed_.... I thought I knew my food, but chalk it up to my mom for finding something that I knew nothing about =


I'd love any tips/advice. Thanks!

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  1. I've not seen this being served, or seen the press itself (as decoration), in Toronto. It's a very specific and fancy dish - usually done tableside (I think) - which is probably why most people don't order it as well.

    1. Chris Klugman had it on the menu at Winston's in the early 90's and even then it was considered a retro thing to do. He had rescued the antique presses from the restaurant's attic where they had been long disused.

      The chef's at Joe Beef in Montreal had an article in the Lucky Peach magazine about making canard al a presse. It not on their regular menu as far as I can tell but it can't hurt to make a call and ask nice. I'd be willing to bet there's a restaurant somewhere in Quebec that has this on their menu.

      I think your Mom is really telling you it that she wants to be taken to Paris for her birthday.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bytepusher

        I bought a sterling silver one back in the eighty's for around 2K. The idea is to squish out all the blood, marrow, fat and juices from the cooked carcass to slather on the breast and leg of the just cooked duck. This warm liquid is usually mixed with pepper and a good Bordeaux. I use it occasionally for both duck and lobster. You use it at the table to wow guests, so it's as much for show as anything.

      2. I had pressed duck last year in a very traditional restaurant called Via Veneto in Barcelona. When I arrived (at 10 p.m.) I was the first there, by the time I left (around 1:30 a.m.) almost every table had ordered the duck! I know Daniel's (New York) was serving it, but here is an idea closer to home. I've seen it on the menu at chinese restaurants in hong kong and san francisco. I wouldn't be surprised if you called around a bit and found that a more upscale chinese restaurant (probably in Markham) might have some version on their menu or would prepare something for you.

        1 Reply
        1. re: soko

          The Chinese pressed duck thing is a totally different dish

        2. I cooked at the long gone Lake Placid Club that had Pressed Duck on the menu. Well-healed customers loved it for the show and wait staff hated it for the mess. They had to clean and polish the contraption.

          You might find an older hotel or restaurant (Royal York?) that can do it, but i'd guess you are looking at a very pricey meal. I'll ask a few older chefs for any ideas.

          1. Unfortunately this will prove to be impossible in Toronto. In fact, I only know of 1 place in Paris serves it.... La Tour d’Argent. I have to agree with bytepusher on this one...Your mom wants a ticket to France....

            1. The classic dish would be almost impossible in Toronto, as the preferred breed of duck is a Rouen, which is very slow growing and not raised commercially. Secondly, the ducks must be strangled to retain the blood used in the sauce.

              However there are 4 restaurants that make the certifiable dish, but they are in Quebec:


              On another note, I am actually preparing this dish with farm raised Rouens, as well as improvising a press with approx 88lbs of pressure for a dinner this year.

              I hope this helps!

              1 Reply
              1. re: violinguy

                You can buy the duck press on Amazon :)

                Thanks for sharing the places that serve this dish.

                1. re: violinguy

                  1 left in stock...! go go go!

                  ....and then can I come to dinner?

                2. The closest I'm aware of to Ontario is Le Cheval de Jade in Tremblant.
                  At least Porter flies there.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: graydyn

                    Yeah and it will cost you less than buying the machine probably.
                    I was surprised to see it for sale the first time on Amazon. I will try this dish when I go up to Quebec the next time.

                      1. re: ah123

                        Does Edulis use the Rouen breed? We grew Rouens and this is the preferred duck for canard a la presse, as unlike other commercial breeds (Pekin, Muscovy) there is very little fat on the breast. This would make a huge difference in preparing the dish, as with any other breed you would end up with excess fat that could not render with the very quick initial roasting.

                        As an aside, i would also recommend that after the duck has been killed (by breaking the neck) it should be french aged (hung with feathers, guts etc intact) for 3-4 days. Incredible flavor.

                        1. re: violinguy

                          Yes, they use Rouens, and yes they age.

                          1. re: childofthestorm

                            In the recent Toronto life article it said they used Muscovies.

                        2. re: ah123

                          Thanks for sharing I called in and its 150$ per person for a six course menu (2 courses are duck) They are looking at minimum of 4-6 weeks notice and are currently looking at May reservations. Pricey but considering the alternate of travelling to Quebec or France might be worth a shot.