NYC: Ducks Eatery, Gastropub with an Asian Twist in East Village

Friday, December 6, 2013

This past Halloween, MasterChef Christine Ha was back in town from filming a new show called "Four Senses" in Toronto. Four Senses is a new culinary show for the visually impaired, and of course Christine is always such an inspiration. Difficult for me to not become a complete fangirl when we do have dinner, but I try to keep it under control :).

Since she was only in for one night, we headed to Duck's Eatery in East Village for some good eats. Christine and her cousin Pauline were dressed up as Alice and Mad Hatter, so J and I ended up dressing up as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Only thing is, I felt like we looked more like the guys from The Internship, lol. Fun fact, NPH and hubs were dressed up as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum this Halloween as well.

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We had a reservation for 6 which felt like we took up about 1/4th of the seating area in the restaurant. Since it was Halloween, there were a ton of people who were also hanging out at the bar area. Also check out the cool face paint out waitress had on, it tripped me out everytime when she came by.

The menu was full of small plates and big plates that were all very shareable. The best way to describe the food we ate would be a gastropub which had an Asian twist to it. Overall I really liked most of the dishes but thought the cocktails could have been more distinct and less watered down.

The dishes were on the smaller side of things, so it feels like we ordered the entire menu - or at least the Small Plates section.

Here's what we ended up getting:

Small Plates

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**RECOMMENDED - Smoked Duck Salad  - black rice, pomegranate,  apple, black garlic - $12
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Paloma - espolòn, grapefruit, chipotle, sage - $12
Quinoa & Cured Trout - arugula, pumpkin miso, charred peach, husk cherry - $8
Sea Bass Ceviché - shrimp, calamansi, sage, corn, lime, applewood smoke - $8
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**RECOMMENDED - Crispy Pig Ears - bibb, lingham’s hot sauce, pickled cabbage, sesame - $11
I loved both of the salads, one topped with Smoked Duck and the other with trout. Portions-wise, the smoked duck salad was actually pretty big compared to all the other dishes. The arugala salad underneath was tossed in a light tangy vinaigrette, loved the balance with the tart pomegranate seeds.

The Crispy Pig Ears were just plain addicting. Who can resist?


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Charred Head-on-Shrimp - whipped lardo, arugula, anise, vinegar, sambal - $12
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Blue Point Oysters - jalapeño mignonette - $8  |   St. Louis Ribs - hickory smoke, dry rub - $12

Plates

One of everyone's favorite dish was this Smoked Whole Goat's Neck, although the neck was slightly on the sweeter side because of the cherries in the dish, I thought overall it was worth it  and simply delicious with the white rice.

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** RECOMMENDED - Smoked Whole Goat Neck - yellow curry, bing cherries, coconut rice (for two) - $32
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Little Neck Clams sage, peppercorn broth, heirloom tomato, charred corn - $14
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Pipi Kaula - crispy aged short rib, black soy, sweet vinegar - $12
We ordered the Pipi Kaula on a whim because we were still a tad hungry. These were too chewy and we all agreed we liked a Korean galbi preparation of Asian short ribs than this one - skip this and get the St. Louis Ribs.

Sides

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Som Tom - raw butternut squash, cashews, wax beans, calamansi - $8
I really loved the Som Tom because it reminded me of a papaya salad. Light and fresh, and I've actually never had raw butternut squash before! Yum.

We also had the Nasi Ulam Rice (not pictured) which was made with herbs, dried shrimp, coconut, and sambal. I didn't really have any of it, but it was a hit with the others at the table.

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At the end of our meal, the folks at Ducks Eatery shared this dish with us - a ricotta and fish dish which we didn't find that exciting. Tried a bite but didn't really love the cheese and fish combo. It wasn't on the menu so maybe they were testing this out?

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal at Ducks Eatery. Was a great place for drinks and good eats to nibble on. Everything on the menu looked intriguing and we pretty much wanted to order everything ... and did. Come with friends and enjoy!

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Ducks Eatery | Yelp
Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Ducks Eatery
* Overall
★★★☆, Pretty good, worth trying
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
East Village / American New
* Street Address
351 East 12th St. (Between 1st Ave. & 2nd Ave.), New York, NY 10003
* Phone
(212) 432-3825

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