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Duck King in Boca Raton

Has anyone tried this new Chinese restaurant? https://www.facebook.com/DuckKingBoca

The fact that they serve sushi makes me doubt their authenticity. They have raving reviews that sound a bit suspicious so I was wondering if any chowhounders have checked it out.

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  1. From the address it looks like the same location that has been "Spicy Ginger" for the past year or so.

    I went a few times and it was not busy at all.. so perhaps either new owners or a rebranding.

    I'll check it out for lunch soon.

    And their social media person should realize that lots of exclamation points in every post don't really get folks all that excited!!!!!!!

    Good food works better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3 Replies
    1. re: CFByrne

      We finally have good Chinese in Boca Raton!

      It's not a rebranded Spicy Ginger. I like it better than my other favorite, Silver Pond. The staff barely speak English but are friendly.

      They also have Japanese items on the menu. We haven't tried any of them yet.

      1. re: Mat Josher

        Just came from here.

        This is the best Chinese I've had south of NYC and north of Hong Kong City in Lauderhill.

        Very little English spoken. The 4 other tables all were filled with Asians. The few somewhat Americanized dishes I ordered all had that special "this is authentic Chinese cooking" flavor. More soon...

        But if you like Chinese, I would say this is definitely very well worth checking out.

        Fair prices, very big portions, and if you like hot, you will get hot.

        1. re: CFByrne

          BTW they seem to have 2 menus (also a good sign).

          The more formal sit-down menu which I think is the "Chinese" menu as it was mostly characters with English translations off to the side.

          The take-out menu is the more Americanized one.

          So if you go, you may want to take a gander at both - just for a better idea of what's available etc.

    2. I want to see the menu before I go. Called the restaurant and the man that answered the phone could hardly speak english. I guess that is a good sign in terms of the food.

      1. thanks for the update - look forward to hearing about your experience

        1. Returned here last night and had another good experience.

          This time a young Asian lady served us, She was very good and had a good handle on English, which was a big help. :-)

          Dumplings were nice but a bit on the small side and some may bristle 6 for $8.95.

          It's more than made up though by the Minced Beef and Cilantro Soup (we asked for and got a sub of chicken), again a $4.25 bowl large enough to feed 6. I also ordered the Duck Soup which tasted much more flavorful and authentic albeit there was no duck to be found.

          Mrs CFB is a big fan of Chow Fun dishes so thanks to our waitress we located an equivalent on the menu... On the in house menu it's called Ho Fun, and the takeout menu it's called Stir Fried Rice Noodle. In any event, it's only offered with Beef but we subbed Chix. As soon as it came out we knew this was good from the aroma alone, the taste did not disappoint. On par with the same dish at Hong Kong City. (Photo)

          Our waitress senses I was willing to explore, she suggested the dish labeled only as "Spicy Chicken" - which of course could be almost anything. So I took a flier and it paid off.

          I can best describe it as an alternative to the infamous Mission Chinese Explosive Wings (except w/o whole wings). Take wings (and thighs I think) - bone in and diced to bite size chunks) stir fry amidst about a pound of numbing hot red peppers, add scallion and other spices, serve. Not easy to eat with the bone-in chicken but delicious and again very authentic tasting. (Photo 2)

          I'm no Chinese Food expert but I know this place is light years ahead of any of the numerous typical Chinese American places I've tried in Boca/Delray/Boynton area.

          Waitress mentioned they've got a new menu coming out today which will clear things up a bit. So I look fwd to seeing that - as right now the descriptions are minimal which makes exploring menu a real adventure.

          I would recommend this place to anyone in the area who's interested in Chinese Food beyond eggrolls and chow mein.

          5 Replies
          1. re: CFByrne

            Thanks for the info. Will pick up a take-out menu and order from there next time.

            1. re: CFByrne

              Wow, what a difference in just a few weeks. We visited here a few weeks ago after reading your positive reviews and weren't sure we were at the same place. Coincidentally, we also ordered the spicy chicken - it was nothing like the photo you took! We were told the sushi chef was on vacation, and it is clear the regular chef was out, too. Our spicy chicken consisted of chewy strips of chicken in a very bland brown sauce - no peppers, and more importantly, no real flavor. A take out customer came in and ordered the same dish, only to return after about 10 minutes to request (and get) a refund. We just paid our bill and vowed not to return.

              We had given up on this place, but looks like they have their regular chef back. I wish they had just closed for the week or so he or she was gone, rather than having someone improvise. We'll have to give it another try. Thanks for the follow up review!

              1. re: revwib

                Communication is definitely an issue. Supposedly they are getting new menus (with photos) any day now - so hopefully that will help.

                I think "spicy chicken" may have been some catch-all phrase for "whatever...".

                I did get pen and paper out the other day and managed to get them to write down and agree on the name of this dish that I really liked (photo), which also was described as spicy chicken! :-)

                Ask for "Gan Guo Chicken"... as of Friday it was only on the secret Chinese menu, and not written in English anywhere...

                But at least one waitress (Tiffany, 20-something, black hair) seems to be certain what it is. It comes served over flame.

                Personally I would avoid sushi at a low-traffic place like this, at least for now. But I loved this dish although the chicken bits are bone-in so you need to do some picking... may not be for everybody.

                1. re: CFByrne

                  That looks amazing! I may just have to run in there with a printed copy of that photo to avoid any confusion.

              2. re: CFByrne

                That dish is Lazi jiding (aka Chicken with Chilis or Chongqing Chicken) and a classic Sichuan dish. Spicy chicken might be too generic a name, unless the menu literally says that?

                But you say it is bone in wings? That will probably not please my mom, its better if its boneless breast or thigh. I notice in florida these new places use wings and it is very difficult to eat. Too bad Peppers closed down. Sometimes my parents take the plate full of leftover peppers and fry their own chicken with it the next day.

                If they have it, cold spicy beef tendon or jellyfish are also really good sides. Risky to order if there not enough turnover to be fresh but generally the cold dishes at sichuan restaurants are good to balance the heat.

              3. Finally had dinner here last night, while the food was very good there were a number of problems. Firstly, at 7:30 they were out of numerous items. No duck rolls and no rice noodles with beef. The most disappointing was the inability to communicate withe the staff. No one really spoke English and they really did not understand the menu. The Chinese menu which I am sure would have been more interesting, could not be translated by anyone on staff. The good sign was that many of the diners were Chinese. I hope they make an attempt to try and translate the Chinese

                1. Dined there on Feb. 12. Despite what may have been one o the best renditions of hot and sour soup I have had, this place was a disappointment for this guailo. Two months after opening they are still using the excuse they are new and don't have everything on the men, i.e., duck rolls and even wontons for wonton soup (for the less adventurous at my table. There is a 2-page all-Chinese menu (no translation), but our waiter insisted the stuff on it was too hot for even him. I've been eating Sichuan food for decades in NYC and know what hot is, In any event, deep-fried, crispy duck was quite tasty, albeit salty, and one must debone it in order to eat it on the accompanying buns. Tea, BTW, is served by the cup. The dry-fried shredded beef was more beef candy w/a few studs of Sichuan pepper corns for decor, Way too sweet and I told our serve so. His reply, "Next time when you come in I will tell the chef to make it hotter." Seeing how they treat guailo as being unqualified to eat authentically spicy food, I'm not sure theis "foreign devil" will return.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: dixdiner

                    Yes this place is very annoying. I have had a few meals that were as good as I've ever had in this area.

                    Yet the menu (useless, even the English one), service, availability, inconsistency etc all make every trip an adventure / crapshoot / potential disappointment.

                    I wish they would hire an experienced, English speaking restaurant manager to get them on track.

                    It could be very good. But I am afraid as is, too many folks will come here and never return.

                    Plus they also removed their lunch menu.

                    What remains are mostly ala carte entrees for $16-$18 and up.

                    That's not going to work for a strip mall lunch in Boca. You at least need to add some sides to round that out.

                    I may try again - but my patience is wearing thin.

                    1. re: CFByrne

                      We've had one very good dinner here and going again tomorrow. I haven't seen any comments about their Peking Duck - I've ordered one but am curious as to why nobody has mentioned it. Appreciate any feedback.

                      1. re: DolceFarNiente

                        I'm answering my own request!! Duck was just ok - dry and overcooked. Everything was served cold and should have been at least warm. The place was close to empty but service was horrendous! No apologies forthcoming for the 45 minute wait for the Peking Duck which I had ordered 3 days in advance. Three strikes and they are out!.

                      2. re: CFByrne

                        CF, I agree. This place is strange. The decor, the menu, the way the dishes come out.
                        We went there last night, and ordered from the American menu. After reading this thread, I felt armed and ready to tackle the menu. Other than the shrimp w/ lobster sauce and the Chow Fun (I called it Ho Fun, but was corrected by the waiter), the dishes were tasty but not what we had expected. I tried to order the spicy chicken that everyone raved about, but they said they had no idea what we were talking about.
                        When we asked where our appetizer of dumplings were- our mains had come out already, sporadically- the waitress told us that typically, Chinese meals come out as the dishes are prepared in the back- and that as an American, we are unfamiliar with this custom. They have only limited woks and that's why dishes sometimes take a long time. I get that- but maybe they should write that message on their menu and give the patron a heads up.
                        Beers were super cheap (3.5 for most). Tea was lukewarm. Conclusion: Fair. 1 beer, 1 soup, 1 dumpling, 1 shrimp w/lobster sauce, chow fun, chix with chili sauce (not good) and a General Tso chix was $88 plus tip. Maybe that's reasonable, but we didn't feel satisfied in the end. Will probably not return, not because the food or the service was not good, but rather because it was a difficult overall experience.

                        Restaurant was 75% full, mostly Chinese customers w/ kids loving their food.

                        I'm going out on a limb to say, rather proudly no less that I love American-style Chinese food (chips on the table, ribs, eggrolls, etc.) and would welcome a recommendation for that.

                        1. re: LETTUCEINLOVE

                          That being the case, you have to try Grand Lake on Okeechobee in West Palm Beach. Excellent Hong Kong/American-style Chinese food.

                    2. I had a very interesting experience. I went to the restaurant during the day and brought a copy of Fuschia Dunlop's Sichuan cookbook. The book has the names of the dishes in both English and Chinese. Needless to say many of the dishes are on the Chinese menu which has no translations.
                      I met the chef and he said he would make many of the dishes. Am going for dinner this Tuesday and will report back.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: rsanders99

                        Had dinner there for the third time last week and this time we ordered from the Chinese menu, Amazing!! Had the fish over cabbage in a very spicy chili oil broth that was stupendous! We have an app that translate Chinese so were able to figure out the menu items. There is also a very helpful waiter who speaks English quite well and can assist with that menu. We will continue to go back and only order from the Chinese menu - it's much better.

                          1. re: dixdiner

                            The app we use to translate is Waygo and it now translates from Japanese as well.

                            1. re: DolceFarNiente

                              A guy I know is friends with the developers. Very cool app. Question - does it translate verbatim only or does it then translate the notorious chinese idioms? I don't think anyone will order "ants crawling up a tree" or "lion's head" without the idiom explanation!

                          2. re: DolceFarNiente

                            Dolce - I thought on Feb 17 you said 3 strikes and they are out! Couldn't stay away?


                            I am perhaps in the same boat... it's maddeningly inconsistent.

                            But when it is good, it can be really good...

                            And far far better than the usual Americanized egg roll, wonton soup and chow mein crap you're liable/likely to get elsewhere.

                            1. re: CFByrne

                              When they are good they are very good. So I'll keep going back as long as the Chinese menu performs.

                        1. OP here, didn't get to try the place, maybe the next time I visit my parents.

                          General tips for small Chinese restaurants like this is to only order from the Chinese menu or the standard regional dishes. Bring a friend or do some quick internet research - they should be able to make the standards if they are authentic. If a Sichuan restaurant doesn't serve "shui zhu yu" (Sichuan Boiled Fish) just get up and leave.

                          If you don't have time to research, get enough non-picky eaters to order the group set menu -- Chinese families frequently do this cause its way cheaper and the dishes are usually made to appeal to Chinese eaters. It usually starts at 4 people (but feeds way more) and is seafood/meat heavy. The larger set menus will have what Chinese view as upgrades (ie lobster instead of crab, shrimp instead of chicken, whole fish instead of sliced). If there's one dish no one wants, most places will happily downgrade.

                          Don't order the wrong regional dish unless you've heard its good, or its something so basic they better make it decent. People order things like cantonese dishes at a sichuan restaurant and wonder why its bad. Chinese restaurants often have giant menus across regions but only order dishes from the region the chef is from. Of course options are limited in this area so maybe you dont have that luxury but its just a general guideline.

                          We once tried to order a la carte at Silver Pond cause they were out of crab on the set menu and the dish we tried to order, the manager flat out told us it was for Americans and we wouldn't like it. So we gave up on ordering something that sounds interesting at this type of restaurant.

                          And of course, if all else fails, my ethnic food default is to order the one dish everyone else has on their table. Don't be afraid to ask the other diners either. I do this sometimes at small ethnic restaurants. They often get really excited to share their culture and recommend the unique or off the menu items.

                          If you really want it Sichuan spicy, make sure to tell them that ahead of time. They often try to cater to the perceived masses as a default. Fair warning: I did that at a Thai restaurant and my dish was so hot I was crying.

                          Hope this is helpful and not just stating the obvious. Having grown up in Boca my friends always asked me about Chinese food but most of them really just wanted the americanized stuff anyway. We took a friend to a place known for zhajiangmian and after we told him the best options on the menu, he ordered chicken chow mein.

                          1. Returned after first visit 5 months ago. The young server who refused to let me order from the Chinese menu is gone. Instead, owner Logan, a young bespectacled fellow in t shirt, offered various suggestions with real heat. Shredded pork with sliced peppers left a nice burning ting around my lips. Alas, no Peking duck available for several months due to the need to replace equipment used to cook the duck.Logan told me a new menu is in the works that will incorporate more dishes from the Chinese version. And yes, it's BYOB if you choose. Avoid the Lucky Buddha "Chinese" beer. It's crappy lager from Australia.

                            1. Hopefully they get their act together! So much potential.

                              Mistakes need to be cleaned up.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: CFByrne

                                V2.0? Is that decor, food, mgmt, personnel?

                                1. re: CFByrne

                                  Was there on Sunday. I hope they update the air conditioner.