It’s all about the duck! December 12, 2010
That’s what they say on the Peking Duck House website — “It’s all about the duck!”
They also say Peking Duck is “one of the most sophisticated arts of Chinese cooking.” I never realized the preparation involved in making this duck perfect with juicy meat and crispy skin. They pump it with air, pour boiling water on it repeatedly, dry it over time, and finally roast it. Well, they have their system down to a science at Peking Duck House on 28 Mott Street.
Tonight was my first visit there and my belly is FULL. As my friend Annie likes to say when she eats too much (while holding her protruding stomach), “I have a food baby.” In this case, we all had a “Peking Duck Baby.”
Folks, this is my new favorite place in Chinatown. This is where I’m sending all my out-of-towners who ask me where to go. Sorry Joe’s Shanghai and Amazing 66! I still love you, but I’m ready for a change.
(Hey, if any of you have a favorite place in Chinatown, please let me know!)
Peking Duck House is your typical Chinese food, but everything was exceptional, fresh and tasty….with the main attraction being the Peking Duck… of course. Go with a table of four or more and get the Peking Duck Dinner for $27.50 per person (amazing deal). This comes with soup, appetizers, an entire duck, two or more other entrees of your choice (depending on the size of your group), and a little dessert. Like I said, I’m full!
Before diving into the food, let’s talk about the space. Chinatown offers some incredible authentic food finds but often lacks any ambiance. Peking Duck House is actually quite nice. No florescent lighting and fake flowers at the table. It’s a step up, for sure. This would make a nice date spot, or fun for a group, including family. The only pet peeve I had were the white cloth napkins that came off on our black clothing.
Back to the food. To start, you get a choice of hot and sour soup (which is the typical), or the house special duck soup. This was a nice way to start the meal. The duck soup was like a chicken-y miso soup with big chunks of soft tofu, duck meat and seaweed. I highly recommend it.
Then each person gets a plate with three single appetizers: a steamed dumpling, a fried spring roll, and barbecued beef on a stick. All were tasty, but my entire table agreed after the meal (while looking at all the leftover food on the table) that we could have done without it.
Next up, the main attraction! The waiter presents the glistening and golden whole duck to the table and then it’s quickly dismantled by a little man with a very tall hat. He carves and slices that bird with amazing speed and precision.
We’re given lots of warm pancakes, scallions, cucumber, plum sauce and the sliced bird with crispy skin, juicy meat, and just the right amount of fat for flavor. Making these little duck moo shoo packages is quite fun and very tasty. I like an activity when it comes to food.
Remember making these little roll-ups with moo shoo pork growing up? I seem to recall never having enough pancakes and needing to pay extra for more. My father used to say, “everyone gets ONE pancake.”
Why is that? Those thin little pancakes are nothing special on their own… why do they covet them so? Something I’ve always wondered…. Regardless, you’ll have plenty to work with at Peking Duck. Their pancakes are soft, house made, and there are plenty of them.
After the duck, we’re all full and happy. But wait! The two entrees we chose earlier arrive with a big bowl of white fluffy rice. OY!!! What do we do? But it’s so good! The dishes are salty and sweet and Chinese and addicting… and we can’t stop eating… ah!!!
My table of four sits in silence, holding our Peking Duck Babies.
To top it all off, we each get our own little deep fried banana and a caramelized walnut. Also too good to turn away.
So here I am. midnight. Full to the brim. Still tasting that crispy duck perfectly paired with the sweet plum sauce and crunchy cucumbers. I’m kind of wishing I was the one at the table that said… “oh, ok… I’ll take the leftovers“.
For my next visit, I’m trying out the “House Special Dinner” for $37.50 per person. This includes everything mentioned above but allows for more elaborate entree choices like Lobster with Ginger and Scallions or Whole Steamed Sea Bass. Next time, I’ll have a light lunch.Peking Duck House
28 Mott St.
New York, NY, 10013
Phone:(212) 227-1810 www.pekingduckhousenyc.com