Peking Duck House
After researching where to eat in Beijing, the urge for peking duck became hard to ignore. I can’t say for sure that Peking Duck House is a top contender in NYC—I’ve only tried a few places for this delicacy—but it’s where I tend to go and I like to believe that it’s above average.
Two diners are tricky. We wanted a whole duck, but the $25 per person combo dinner with more side dishes and appetizers only offers half a duck for two. It’s not immediately apparent from glancing at the menu that you can just buy a duck flat out for $38, but you can.
The bird comes out whole and is shown to you before being taken to a nearby table to be carved. I always wonder what they do with the carcass. I know that some restaurants will make a soup course from the leftovers. The pancakes at Peking Duck House are large, more burrito sized that normal, so each bundle is substantial. I actually prefer the sweet fluffiness of mantou that some restaurants serve; it feels more decadent.
I never know what to order to compliment the duck. Cold sesame noodles seemed innocuous to start. A vegetable would be smart to counteract the fatty meat and skin, garlic eggplant wasn’t the wisest since Chinese-style eggplant is rarely healthy with all the oil and sauce it comes in. It was good, though incredibly garlicky.
My fortune didn’t sit well with me, true as it may be. “Perhaps you’ve been focusing too much on yourself.” Well, duh. (9/28/07)
Yay, peking duck. I got a kick out of our last foray into the world of crisp skin, hoisin and pancakes, but James was less impressed. So, it was back to Chinatown this time. No complaints about the food. However, I do detest being seated in a tight row of tables when a restaurant isnt busy. It always creates the tough choice of whether you put your crotch or your butt at the eye level of your neighboring diners. Maybe I’m the only one who stresses about these things. I guess the solution would be having the man sit in the booth and the woman in the chair. I mean, this solves the problem for me. The guy? Whatever. Whoever said that the female is supposed to be on the inside, anyway? (5/19/05)
Barring Burger King and its ilk, you tend to take a restaurant seriously when its specialty is in its name. And besides, who can resist a restaurant whose logo is a duck in a baker’s hat (it’s odd enough that he wears a hat at all, but a toque might make a little more sense)?
Initially, I got all scared because the way the menu’s worded makes it seem like you need four or more people to order the duck. Luckily, I sharpened up and realized that’s just for the Special Dinner. Any ol’ person can have the Peking duck, which we did. Some so-so pork dumplings and Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce rounded out the meal too. And round is right. I felt huger than normal after knocking a few duck-filled pancakes back. My original plan to stop at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory afterward didn’t seem so wise after all. (10/5/01)
Peking Duck House * 28 Mott St., New York, NY