Posts Tagged With: Ducks Eatery

Top 10 Dishes of 2017

Nur Eggplant

Lobster Fra Diavolo at Nishi.  A beautiful mammoth mess consisting of 1.5 lb flash fried salt and pepper coated lobster on a bed of garlic, chili and XO infused spaghettoni (emphasis on the chili).  Lobster comes cracked and ready to easily fish out perfectly cooked meat, while the escaped crunchy Tempura flakes adds some texture to the pasta.  Its a $62 triumph.

Nishi - Lobster Fra Diavolo

Chicken Paitan at Ivan Ramen – Not the Ramen that made Ivan famous, but the one that may convert the nonfans.  The richness and deliciousness of a Tonkotsu without the heaviness that follows sometimes.  The only dish other than the classics that broke the rule and became available in both Ivan Ramen locations.


Chengdu Fish Fillet With Pickle Vegetable at Legend of Taste – A spice loving family of 4 can easily share this outrageously delicious Szechuan soup.  I shared it with 6 and 4 in different visits.  Plenty of flaky flounder and chewy Enoki Mushroom.  Pleasant heat sneak up at you.  Even good an hour later when it cools down.  Only problem with this legend is that its in Whitestone, Queens.


Smoked Goat Neck at Ducks Eatery – A revelation of sorts.  Dont know why it took me so long to try it.  It may sound like something that is not everyone’s cup of goat, but once you see what goes into this dish, it may be hard to resist.  It redefines tenderness, succulence, and simply outstanding all around.  The only restaurant in NYC that serves this dish.

Ducks Eatery Goat Neck

Skate Wing at Gloria – Very few things in life can be as satisfying as a well cooked Skate.  Seems like once a year or so these days I score a good one.  At Gloria the skate is simply seared with butter and sprinkled with magic dust.  Opened by two Contra alumni, Gloria is the best thing that opened in Hell’s Kitchen since Gotham West Market.

Gloria Skate Wing

Eggplant Carpaccio at Nur (top)– Maybe the best looking dish out of the bunch, and the only vegetarian this time.  Like a Baba Ganoush gone wild.  Smoky, creamy, crunchy at times, and something you just want to “Scarpetta” the heck out of.  Not every spoonful is the same.  Chef Meir Adoni is sort of a legend in Israel opening his first in NYC, and just knows how to handle those veggies.

Snow Crab in Chinese Restaurant at Pinch Chinese – This is one of those dishes that you continue to think about months later, sometimes even at inappropriate moments.  Glass noodles with heaps of crab, dressed with an outrageously delicious fermented bean sauce with chilies and scallions.  The crab was plentiful but almost plays second fiddle to the noodles with sauce.  Pinch is an underrated gem in Soho

Pinch Chinese Crab in Chinese Restaurant

Sizzling Sisig at Pig and Khao – East Village and Lower East Side is slowly transforming into Sisigville (pig’s face parts come sizzling and topped with egg yolk).  And the best Sisig I had is at this Filipino inspired celebrity chef Leah Cohen’s flagship.  Very nice depth, flavor packed, and not as strong tasting as other Sisigs.  No additional sauce needed for this one.

Pig and Khao Sisig

Laab Ped Udon at Ugly Baby – Maybe the best thing to open this year is this fiery Brooklyn Thai from an old Brooklyn friend.  And this larby Duck Salad is one of the classics early on.  Complex, addictive heat, and unlike any Larb or larb-like salad you will ever have.  Spice level is fairly high in all dishes here, but in particular in those that have words like “Spicy” in the description.

Ugly Baby Duck Salad

Fromage Blanc Island “Cheese Cake” at Chikalicious Dessert Bar – Best dessert I’ve had this year came from an oldie but goodie.  Its delicate, elegant, and super light.  Like delicious fresh cheese mixed with cloud.  Its worth just going in order to meet the master Chika Tillman herself.  But if this dessert scene is a little foofoo for you, try the faster Dessert Club across the street and go for the Nutty Professor ice cream.

Chikalicious Cheese Cake

Other Noteables:  Soy Keema at Indian Accent, Goi Hed at Somtum Der, Spicy Lemongrass soup at Ginger and Lemongrass (new Lower East Side location)

Happy and Healthy New Year to all my readers and all the fun people I met over the year.  Thanks for a great 2017!

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A Ducky in East Village Dishes out Killer Goat

Ducks Eatery logo

You can get goat all over the city, especially in Indian restaurants.  But Google “Goat Neck NYC” or “Smoked Goat Neck NYC” and see how many results come up.  Go ahead I’m waiting.  You will get many results, but all pointing to one place…  Ducks Eatery.  Thats because Ducks is the only place in NYC that offers it.  Why?  I’m not sure.  But one bite out of that thing makes you wonder.  Perhaps at this stage, its impossible for any chef with some integrity to add something like this to the menu without any infringement.  Its a revelation of sorts.  A level of tenderness and succulence I havent experienced in NYC, or at least not in a while.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of Guy Fieri.  But on occasion I cross paths with him in my writings.  Perhaps to the point of “maybe I should start watching those DDD’s” ( I even forget what they stand for.  Drives, Diners, and Divas?).  So instead of trying to give this the proper justice with food words like divine and OMFG, I will just refer you to this DDD clip which describes this dish and its inspiration very well.  As you see, making this goat dish requires 59 easy steps, a culinary degree with a minor in economics.  It makes the price ($36) look like a robbery (I’m the robber).  You may also want to watch Fieri in another EWZ favorite, Gazala’s Place in Midtown  Ducks Eatery Goat Neck


I suppose if you are a carnivore, that video is all you need.  My job is done here.  But I need to make it to at least 350 words or else its “No pastrami for you” the next time I’m at Z-List fave, and East Village tour staple Harry & Ida’s (Will and Julie Horowitz own Ducks and Harry & Ida’s).  So what should we talk about to fill the gap.  There’s a front moving according to the news.  What happens when a front stops moving.  Is it still a front?  Or does it need to move by definition?  They never report on fronts that stay still, I dont believe.  You never hear “we have a front that is stuck for 3 days outside the Maryland coast”

I suppose I should also mention that the dry rubbed St. Louis Ribs here sport a beautiful red hue and would make any Texan blush (because of the East Village crowds).  And the wings here are gorgeously jerked and pepper-corned, and are going straight into the NYC Wings Hall of Fame.  We ordered another round.  This is serious BBQ folks.  But all of this including the seafood items like the fine smoked trout take on a supporting role after the most beautiful neck this side of Ibiza.

sfdef1Apparently its called a Stationary Front.  Where two air masses collide and neither strong enough to move each other.  Sort of like drunk sumo wrestlers leaning against each other.  But at some point they simply fall down and get dragged out of the rink ending in a tie I presume.  But not before they piss on themselves.  Boy, I sure hope I get to eat that pastrami again….

Ducks Eatery
351 E 12th St (1st ave), East Village
Rating: Three Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Goat Neck, Trout, Ribs, Wings, just get the Goat Neck

Ducks Eatery RibsDucks Eatery TroutDucks Eatery Wings


Categories: East Village, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Battle of the Bridges Part Deux – Grub This!

photo (66)With 2 major food events scheduled for the weekend, the big news could not have come at a better time.  We apparently not pooping properly!   Yes thats right!  Leave your iphone in your pockets and invest in baby wipes and a little stool for your feet and squat away.  Is our society ready for this?  Meaning, can I be seen leaving a meeting at work early for the sole purpose of going to the restroom carrying a little stool, or would that be awkward?  But it makes complete sense to me.  However,  as with all the studies out there, I would wait about month for any disputing “Wrong! We ARE pooping just fine” arguments to emerge.

I already wrote about the first event of the weekend.  The next day the Hummus Whisperer and I planned another one of those bike bridge tours where we Citibike from place to place and eat various things.  A bike tour that would have been so much more fun if not for a certain someone’s WIFE WHO NEEDED HER PRECIOUS TO BE HOME BY 3:30! ok, needed to get it out of my system.  Here’s what we did and what we ate last Sunday…

As before, we parked by the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn Side and biked Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan.  The earlier you do it, the easier it gets on this bridge due to the amount of tourists that flock it.

photo (58)Stop 1 – Grub Street Food Festival on Hester street.  The mother of all NYC food festivals.  If you have to choose one food festival to attend a year, this is the one.  The who’s who of the top vendor names, great space, plenty of seats, and great music.  While we were returning our bikes, we met a dutch couple who were having trouble with their bikes and needed to get to another docking station.  They were able to return only one bike.  I offered to bike along with the wife to another docking station and walk the wife to the festival but the husband insisted on running along the sidewalk much to the delight of some locals.  I cant blame him for not trusting me as I had a very bad hair day.  Anyway when they were leaving, they asked me if its a weekly thing and couldn’t believe how lucky they were when I told them its yearly.  Here’s what we ate…

photo (53)Pastrami sandwich from Ducks Eatery – Started with a bang!  Very meaty, juicy, thick sliced as pastrami should be.  Delicious.  Great job by Ducks

Israeli Scotch Eggs from Eastwood.  Fan-freakin-tastic.  “Taim Meod”.  Very unique and very good.  Add some Tehina on it and its like the Falafel and Sabich making boogie right in front of your eyes.   Eastwood people, I see you now!  I dont need a liquor license to visit you.  Some Nesher Bira Schora (Israeli black beer) will do, thanksphoto (59)

Khao Man Gai from Khao Man Gai – Essentially Chicken and Rice, ginger based sauce and a light soup.  Khao Man Gai is thai street food.  Basic compared to everything else but pleasant.  To enjoy this one is best with Thai iced tea and a seat

photo (55)Teriyaki Balls from Mimi and Coco – I dont know why it took me so long to try these.  I suppose I was never really in the mood for them, but this time those beautiful Schweddy Balls were like “Come To Ziggy”.  These were bursting with flavor on every bite.  However, I made the mistake of putting an entire ball in my mouth and for a few seconds suffered greatly from the heat (not spicy, HOT).  I would have them again

Canela – Cajeta Ice Cream from La Newyorkina – Perhaps the best thing I ate all day.  Very sweet but in a very good way, Mexican caramel, cinnamon and some love.  This is artisanal ice cream at its best.  No frozen air here.

photo (57) photo (56)

For the same reason I’m obsessed with travel, walking around Chinatown is one of my favorite things to do in NYC.  Live frogs, dragon fruit, massage parlors with “No special favors” signs, 99 cent new favors (see below) and all sorts of prices that cant be beat (except of course if you get for free).  Just things I don’t normally see on a daily (61)

photo (60)I enjoy walking inside buddhist temples (until I see too many swastikas and run the hell out there) and perhaps for the first time heard a “welcome” from a monk.  It was in Pu Chao Buddhist Temple on Eldridge street.  very nicely decorated, serene temple

Near the temple you will also find one of New York’s hidden treasures, the Museum at Eldridge Street.  The museum is housed inside the great Eldridge Street Synagogue, the first synagogue in America built by East European Jews.  Built in 1887.  A strange location nowadays smack in the middle of Chinatown, but its not stopping from tourists to flock it looks like.

Back to eating, back to the bikes.  We alter plans to go to Hells Kitchen and rode back to Brooklyn instead, this time taking the Manhattan Bridge back.  Sooo much easier riding the Manhattan Bridge.  No people, No ringing, great views (below).  BTW, the Hummus Whisperer is the only person I know that rings cars.  They cant hear you HW!photo (62)

We opted to stop by and visit the Brooklyn Navy Yards, a giant shipyard used to build and repair navy and commercial vessels.  An informative little museum tells the story of not only the shipyard but the entire city.  Tours are offered by either bus or bikes due to the size of the (64) photo (63)

Picked up the bikes again and moved on toward Dumbo, the #1 destination currently for wedding, bat mistvah, get out of prison pictures.  People watching and scenery doesn’t get much better than Dumbo these days.

Our destination is the new Smorgasburg which recently moved from Dumbo to Pier 5.  Pier 5 is as stunning.  Before we parked I get a text from my friend Val saying that he’s at this food festival near the Brooklyn Bridge Park, figuring he’s telling me something new that I ought to know.  I surprised him and family minutes later.

We sampled some Short ribs from Takumi Taco yet again.  Still good though perhaps a tad drier this time.

Fried Chicken from Buttermilk Channel was just ok.  A bit greasy and sweet batter that’s not to my liking.  Not a very good line/taste ratio here.

Mighty Quinn’s and its mighty line still rule this show rightfully so, but I didnt have it this time (My friend Val did and loved it)

The best thing that came out of this for me was Vermont Maple Lemonade.  This grown man drives every weekend to NYC to open a lemonade stand.  Holy smokes it was good.  Refreshing and tasty.  Perhaps the best lemonade I ever had.

One last bike pick up, a quick randevu with the red hook, a near death with a cabbie, and another one where a leaf landed on my face and blinded me temporarily, and back to the car in one piece.  Till next timephoto (65)

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