Ducks Eatery: A New Take On Old Ways
Originally published on FoodGem.com (no longer an active site).
Nestled on a quiet corner on 12th street between 2nd and 1st Ave. is a true culinary gem. Quiet, and unimposing from the outside, Ducks Eatery may have served me some of the best food I’ve had in my life. Recently, I sat down with some colleagues and the owner/chef of Ducks Eatery, Will Horowitz, to discuss what makes his restaurant a must-try.
Although Ducks Eatery is a modern establishment (they opened shop in 2012) its techniques are as old as our grandparents, and that, ensures Horowitz, is what makes the food so amazing. The food here is crafted with care, and almost all of the ingredients are prepared in-house. The chefs at Ducks Eatery pickle their veggies, churn their butter, and smoke their meats in the same way that Horowitz' grandparents, all gifted cooks, did back in the good old days. Some of the tools they use to craft these amazing meals, such as butcher knives and meat grinders, are even inherited from grandpa Horowitz' old deli.
On my visit to Ducks Eatery I started with smoked mussels on buttered toast-they were incredible. The oily mussels mixed perfectly with the perfectly-salted and creamy butter to create an amazing and flavorful combination. After the mussels, we were treated to the house specialty, smoked goat neck, which Horowitz said takes three days to prepare. That careful preparation was evident. The goat neck was amazing, the meat was so tender it slid off the bone, and it was filled with a warm, powerful, but not overwhelming flavor cherry flavor-the jasmine rice with which it came was the perfect compliment. We dug into both dishes as if we hadn’t eaten in days, and we left the bone, well, bone dry. The dishes, themselves are simple, but you can taste the work that goes into making every ingredient perfect. As Horowitz said, “we are making ingredients, we’re not cooking food so much.”
But for those ingredients they don’t make themselves, the chefs at Ducks Eatery have the perfect company to purvey them. Ducks Eatery has approximately 50 different purveyors, a vegetable guy, a fish guy, a meat guy- in Horowitz’ words, they have a guy for everything. Coming from great culinary backgrounds, it is very important for the chefs at Ducks Eatery to have the highest quality ingredients, but they recognize that sometimes the best ingredients also cost the least; they simply have to be made into knockouts. Repurposing is the way to go here, the kitchen doesn’t waste a single ingredient, rather they find an innovative way to make it better, often times transforming it into something more incredible than the original.
This same attention to detail and appreciation of the old are apparent in the location and ambience itself. Ducks Eatery is located inside a 120-year-old building; in fact the dining room is an old stable. The ceiling is made of red brick, the furniture is worn, the walls are lined with an antique mirror, and the light fixtures all look the perfect amount of rustic. To top it off, you can grab a signature drink served to you in a mason jar. The whole vibe is very casual, complemented by a rockin’ playlist that includes the tunes of Cake, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Stevie Wonder. This is definitely the perfect place to enjoy some mind-blowing food in a laid back atmosphere. The spot is simply cool, and one that any food lover, or human in general, needs to try. In the unbiased words of Horowitz, “this is the real deal.”
Publication Name: FoodGem
Date of Publication: October 26th, 2014