Having quickly become a huge fan of chef/restaurantear Will Horowitz — having been amazed by his popular takes on the sandwiches he hawks at Harry & Ida's Meat and Supply Co., as well as the inspired and expertly executed dinner fare at his Upper East Side restaurant Seamstress — I had to admit that I was long overdue to check out his first food service iteration, Ducks Eatery.
A late afternoon hunger pain and properly timed memory saw me zip down to 12th Street in the East Village to sample some of the items off of a menu that duly spoke to love of the unique, creative, and adventurous.
I was intrigued by the fun-titled Deez Nuts (cashews, Benton’s bacon. cocoa krispies, bing cherries), but they were out of that highly popular item. So instead I leap-frogged across the menu, ordering the smoked mussels appetizer, the smoked whole goat neck (for two) entrée, and the pig's ear cornbread side.
As now expected, these dishes impress on all levels. Plump, near creamy mussels had their clean brininess nicely complemented, not overwhelmed, by the taste of smoke, and the kick of heat and sweetness from maple chili oil. Resting on crostinis smeared with house-smoked cream and chives, they make for a very well-rounded and balanced bite. The smoked goat meat is fall apart tender, rich with layered balanced of lean and rendered fat (and cartilage, which I like), and highlighted by exotically aromatic coconut rice, and sweet, tart cherries. And side of very southern-homey cornbread are served with flecks of crispy, porky, pig's ears.
It's always a pleasure to find a restaurant that inspires faith across the items across its menu — it's even more refreshing to find a seasoned, skill chef and restaurateur who inspires that same faith across the menus of more than one food establishment.
DUCK EATERY | 351 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003 | (212) 432-3825 | duckseatery.com