Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sweet Crispy Duck at Peking Duck House

Roast duck at Peking Duck House is rolled up with scallions and hoisin sauce.
As the name suggests, the folks at Peking Duck House on Mott Street take their ducks seriously. They parade them out whole from the kitchen for display before carving them on a prominent table in the center of the dining room, dividing the meat and crispy skin carefully onto thin pancakes. The pancakes are moistened with hoisin sauce for sweetness and fitted with scallions for texture before being rolled up like burritos.

A duck stands by with all the fixin's.
The result is terrific. The meat is juicy and the skin is good and crisp, giving each pancake a wonderful combination of tender and crispy textures. The scallions provide additional crunch and freshness, and the hoisin sauce gently sweetens up the savory package. More hoisin sauce is served on the side.

Peking Duck House occupies a nice spot on Mott Street near the beginning of our Chinatown Shopping Tour and our beloved Old Sichuan. The dining room is utilitarian, effectively indistinguishable from any other dining room in Chinatown except for white tablecloths and the prominent duck-carving table in the center of the room. The service is what you'd expect: perfectly nice, not particularly outgoing or attentive.

Crispy fish with hot spicy sauce is neither too hot nor too spicy.
On a recent visit, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of some of the non-duck dishes. The "House Steak" was a real standout, the meat nice and tender with a sauce that lifted up the flavor without overpowering it. A whole fish came out crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, bathed in a spicy sweet and sour sauce that was neither too sweet nor too sour. Spicy fried shrimp were served with an addictive sticky spicy sauce and chopped scallions. Our group loved a simple dish of silky bean curd in brown sauce, which was soft and delicate.

The tender "house steak" sits on a bed of Chinese broccoli.
Other dishes were less interesting. A plate of chicken with broccoli that we thought would be crowd pleasing was boring and flavorless. The scallops served with sliced beef on a "sizzling plate" were overcooked and rubbery, which I suppose we should have expected. Fried rice was not as good as our own. Dumplings were okay.

There was so much more food that it hardly mattered. We had a large group, and so we opted for Peking Duck House's excellent group dining menus, available for parties of almost any size. There are two: the Peking Duck Dinner, which for $31 per person yields a duck or two, some appetizers, and your choice of a nice list of entrees; and the Special House Dinner, which for $40.75 includes duck and some more luxurious entrees like lobster with ginger and scallion, Peking-style rack of lamb, and the delicious House Steak.

I would gripe only that the price fixed menus offer too few ducks in proportion to other entrees, but that problem is easily solved by adding additional ducks a la carte.

Peking Duck House
28 Mott Street
(212) 227-1810
http://www.pekingduckhousenyc.com/

Recommended dishes: Peking duck ($48); house steak ($22.95); crispy fish with hot spicy sauce (seasonal price); bean curd in brown sauce ($12.15); Peking Duck Dinner ($31/pp); Special House Dinner ($40.75/pp).


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2 comments:

  1. Ho-ly Cow! That duck looks good! It reminds me of Duque in Segovia where they cut up the sucking pig right in front of you with the side of a plate. It looks like the fish is right up my alley. I wouldn't know how to choose! Sign me up. Thanks so much for these Chinatown reviews. Without your guidance I really wouldn't know where to eat!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! You'd love it, Amanda. And great comparison--that suckling pig in Segovia is amazing. We had it just down the block from Duque at Mesón de Cándido.

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