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Duck King in Boca Raton

Having dined at Duck King last night, I would guess that flashing a camera and pretending to be a blogger would mean nothing to the staff at this restaurant. Do people actually do this in the hopes of receiving better food, or better service? More likely one would be tagged as a poseur attempting to work an overused ploy.

In any case, although the staff is aware of Yelp they had never heard of Chowhound; I did display this thread to Grace, who greeted us, and pointed our Charlie's photos and reviews. I think Charlie's take on the restaurant in the post above this one is spot on. I would also probably not order duck here.

Six of us had dinner here last night. Although I had phoned in advance, there was some confusion about my actually having a reservation, perhaps due to the fact that we had arrived a bit early, so I would suggest confirming if you plan to dine at a busy time.

The confusion was quickly resolved and we were seated on time by Grace, one of two congenial female servers who tended to our table; both of these women speak pretty good English. A short chat with Grace before the meal revealed that the chef is from Fujian, a coastal province and homeland of most recent Chinese immigrants to the US, where fish is a mainstay of the cuisine.

The menu attempts to blend dishes from all over-- fried dumplings from the north, a few Sichuan-inspired dishes including dry-fried beans, eggplant in garlic sauce, MaPo Tofu; modern Hong-Kong plates such as Shrimp in Walnut Sauce, Scallops in XO Sauce, as well as HK-style duck, and the beloved Taiwanese braise, Three-Cup Chicken. There are a couple of dishes that, I believe, come from the NorthEastern regions of China, while the Cumin Beef is a signature Xinjiang dish, although I've encountered it more often made with lamb. As noted above, a translation app, or a dining companion fluent in Mandarin, would be helpful.

Our group was divided into two categories--the fussy eaters on one hand, and the more adventurous on the other. Within the first category were represented diners who hated eggplant and mushrooms, shunned pork, and were allergic to tofu. I did my best to come up with an array that would offer some dishes for everyone. I would have chosen differently with more adventurous dining companions. But as you will read, none of the dishes we ordered were prepared with any serious heat.

Before I go into the details, please keep in mind that I have scant experience eating in Asian restaurants in Florida. We've spent the last two winters in the area, but our experience with Chinese food in the US is confined mostly to the restaurants of Flushing, Queens, and to a lesser extent, the Chinatown in Manhattan. We belong to an informal Chinese Dinner group, and we rotate among interesting restaurants specializing in the cuisine of various regions of the country. (If you are headed for NY in the warmer months, contact me about joining us for a meal!)

We ordered our dishes in two rounds, to ensure that not all the food arrived at once. (If you are not pressed for time, I recommend this tactic at all Chinese restaurants) . I was told that there is no longer a separate Chinese menu, but that the two menus have been combined into one with both English and Chinese descriptions. There was a neighboring table of Chinese diners and I did solicit their advice before ordering. (see below).
Grace and Amy can also offer advice on the various dishes.

First, appetizers:

Egg Drop Soup. I did not taste this, but the person who did was happy; dish also contained wontons.

Hot and Sour Soup. This was a good version, tasty, with sufficient black pepper. Not the revelation I had anticipated, however.

Spring Egg Rolls. Good enough.

Fried Dumplings. Stuffed with what I think was pork, and accompanied by a soy dipping sauce, these were very good.

Crispy Squid with Spiced Salt. This was not the Cantonese staple of salt and pepper squid that I was expecting (it would help if we could decipher the chinese characters on the menu, as the translations are not always adequate, as has been noted in reports, above). The squid bodies were not at all crispy but the texture was good (some might say "rubbery"). Served with thin-sliced green pepper and onions.

Next round of food was as follows:

Shredded Pork with Dry Tofu. This is one of my favorite Chinese dishes and the rendition here was good enough to become a regular on my rotation.

Diced Chicken with Hot Chili Pepper. Recommended by Charlie, above, and by the Chinese diners at the adjacent table. Nuggets of greaseless fried, boneless chicken generously showered with small dried red chilis. Surprisingly, almost no heat other than the chilis, and no evidence of peppercorns. I suspect the chef tamped down the heat after taking measure of the group, but I would specify full heat next time. Very good, though. Does appear to be a version of Chong Qing Chicken; beautiful presentation.

Crispy Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce. Ordered this after making sure that it would be a whole fish; happily, that fish was a very fresh snapper, but unhappily, this snapper weighed only about 1.25 pounds, too small to allow for anything larger than a tiny taste for six people. (Admittedly, I am not an expert fish filleter).

This was a familliar version of this dish which is not, contrary to rumor, an American-Chinese dish but one that can be found in upscale restaurants of many Chinese regions. Excellent; I only wish the fish had been twice as large. I actually found myself sucking the meat from the cut end of the tail. (Perhaps inquire if chef will, for a charge, prepare fish brought in from outside). Sweet meat, sauce not too cloying. Hope to order again, and to try other whole fish dishes.

Sweet and Sour Pork. Favorite dish of member of our Chinese Dinner group. Fellow diners always laugh when he orders this, but they do their best to snag a piece, or three, when passed around. This version was not great, as the large chunk of boneless pork that I sampled was on the tough side. Sauce good, not too sweet.

Sauteed Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce. Very little heat; quite sweet, this dish was a winner.

Chinese Yam and Black Fungus. Thin, slippery sheets of white Chinese yam (popular remedy in Chinese medicine, also known as "air potato," but not at all potato like, tossed with frilly ears of tree mushroom. Interesting dish; I liked it.

Chicken with Walnuts. This reminded me of the Hong Kong Walnut Shrimp. Boneless chunks of sauteed chicken tossed in a creamy sauce and surrounded by a ring of broccoli. I do not see it on the online menu, although it is probably a version of the "crispy creamy shrimps with walnut) listed online. (Unfortunately, I neglected to ask for a take-out menu and forgot to take home the bill). Our group was split between those who cried "Ick!" and those who loved it. Not my favorite.

We had very little leftover food at the end of the meal.

This restaurant has promise and sounds as if it is certainly a bright spot in the local Chinese food scene. I hope to return soon and delve deeper into the Chinese Specials section of the menu.

The dining rooms are attractive; there are a few round tables but most are square. Diners appeared to be split between western and Chinese on this Saturday night. Duck King serves wine (several choices of both red and white are listed) and domestic and at least one Chinese beer, Tsing Tao.

White rice is served with appropriate dishes.

Service, as I mentioned above, is very welcoming but veering to the slow side. They could not have been more friendly or willing to advise. And although we lingered a long time chatting at the table, we never felt pressured to leave.

Disappointingly, no dessert was offered, but we were given hard candies and fortune cookies, at least one of which lacked a fortune. (Discouraging!)

Prices seem to me to be on the high side. Perhaps this is unfair, but I will mention that as a comparison, we usually pay $25 per person with tax and tip but without drinks (many places there are BYOB) in Flushing, Queens, one of the highest commercial rent districts in New York City.

Total for 6 diners, with tax but before tip and including average of about 1 drink per person (no tea was served): $217, or about $42 per person after 20% tip. We had a generous amount of food, so perhaps I am being unfair. In any case, I do plan to return.

http://dduucckk.com/menu-category/chi...

Closed Tuesdays. East side of Federal Highway, north of Yamato exit of I-95; ample parking in the lot of this small strip mall.

Duck King in Boca Raton

Appreciate your feedback. The word "fusion" seems to turn up here on the menus of many Asian restaurants as an attempt to draw in western diners. I would not pay it any mind, as this appears to be a Chinese restaurant.

Did you happen to look at the Chinese-language menu? I plan to dine there tonight and was hoping to try some of the dishes on that..

Seared Foie Gras

The Modern Dining Room offers two foie dishes, including one that is seared.

Dec 24, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Duck King in Boca Raton

...never mind, I see that the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. I'll try contacting them again tomorrow.

Dec 23, 2014
erica in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Duck King in Boca Raton

Do we know for sure that Duck King is still open? I've been unable to reach them by phone (trying to book table for this weekend) but will keep trying....

Dec 23, 2014
erica in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

No Frills Shrimp, etc near I-95 Jacksonville vicinity???

Reporting back:

After two nights in Charleston, we continued our drive south. By late afternoon, we pulled up at Safe Harbor Seafood, about a 20-minute drive off 295 in Mayport. What a great spot! Essentially a giant fish market, they have a few inside tables and more seating on the water, outside.

Place your order at the counter, get a number, and then go snag a table. I ordered a half-pound of steamed shrimp; you can have it with or without Old Bay. (Next time I will order w/o this seasoning blend). Very tasty order of large white shrimp, comes with good hush puppies and pretty good slaw. Very friendly place and a terrific spot to pick up fresh shrimp and fish, along with many prepared products. (Bring a cooler!) Worth the detour! Closed Mondays. GPS calls this Atlantic Beach but it is in Mayport, just past the naval station entrance.

http://www.safeharborseafoodmayport.com/

Dec 22, 2014
erica in Florida
1

Duck King in Boca Raton

I knew I could count on you! I plan to try the restaurant, and I guess it's a good thing that my expectations are no longer high. It does sound frustrating that the Chinese dishes are not translated very well, but I will take some chances with those. I just hope that we will be served the dishes from that menu, and that the kitchen does not change them for our perceived, western tastes!!
I've had a couple of chicken dishes that sound and look similar; sometimes they have had tiny fresh red peppers scattered throughout the dish.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/780331

Do you recall if there is a manager (Logan?) now who speaks English?

I will be sure to call before I go..thanks so much, yet again, for all your help here.

Possible helpful thread:

http://www.chengduliving.com/a-chines...

Dec 21, 2014
erica in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Duck King in Boca Raton

Are there any more recent reports from this restaurant?

Dec 20, 2014
erica in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

white truffles in West Palm Beach?

Just saw them offered on menu at Buccan, $80 on one of their wood cooked pizzas; not sure of the serving size, though.

Dec 19, 2014
erica in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Upsetting dinner at Brushstroke, what should have been done?

Welcome to Chowhound!

I am curious: How much wine and what kind of wine was offered?

When you say that "every other time" you have experienced this, how many times have you had entire dinners comped? Because frankly, if I was offered a few glasses of good wine, and true apologies from the server, I would have let it go.
I've probably missed out on lots of free dinners because I am too accommodating!

Charleston: 3 nights. Have Fig for 1 night. Now of the other 3 we're considering, which to omit?

I had a similar "problem," but with only two nights. I chose Husk and The Ordinary, but have been reading quite a few lukewarm reviews of Husk. Wonder if I should try to switch that out for something else. (FIG looks to be booked, though)

Dec 13, 2014
erica in Southeast

Lincoln Ristorante - Need soothing words to calm me down!!

Fair enough. My principal quibble was with the food. Apart from the two dishes I mentioned up top, it just was not good enough to justify the price. Even taking price out of the equation, it was just not great. Food at Marea is better; service is superior, more congenial at Lincoln.

The next featured region will be Friuli.

Dec 11, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Lincoln Ristorante - Need soothing words to calm me down!!

Coincidentally, I had dinner at Lincoln tonight, just after I spotted this thread.

Bay Scallops in Saor were excellent, as was the Chocolate Tortino dessert, one of the featured Piemontese dishes on the menu.

Insalata de Cicoria (endive and both types of radicchio grown here) was decent enough, if unexciting. Perhaps an unfair comparison, but there is really NO comparison between this fairly traditional salad and the "white chicory" frisee salad I enjoyed two nights ago at Gato. I liked the Polenta with Smoked Scamorza.

The clams in the Spaghetti alla Chitarra con Vongole were tough and not at all enjoyable. Could not taste the sea urchin in the dish. I thought the chitarra produced a squared noodle, but these seemed to be rounded and they were surprisngly thick. Not bad, but not even close to the heavenly pastas at Michael White's restaurants.

Partner described his Reginette with a white Ragu Bolognese, as "pretty good," and I agreed. Our dining companions were split on the pan-roasted sturgeon steak, with one finding it "tough" and the other enjoying.

Bread service offered estimable grissini, Sullivan Street seasame bread, and good focaccia. Amuse was a very excellent toast of mushroom pate, pecorino and one other element which I have forgotten. Interesting, fairly priced selection of wines by the glass.

Staff were exemplary in taking our orders and in presenting the dishes. But did anyone check back to see if we were enjoying our meal? An order of mushrooms, which was left mostly uneaten and which I had therefore asked to take home, was not brought to me and thus left at the restaurant. Perhaps partly my fault for not remembering, but usually I am given a ticket and the dish is brought to the coat check, or the dish is packed up and brought to the table.

Good enough with careful ordering if you are heading to an event at Lincoln Center. Otherwise, I would not return. Too many slips at this price point.

Dec 10, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Best Seafood Bets

Marea.

Dec 10, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Bad food in Mexico City?

I can't answer, other than to say that El Tizoncito in Condesa was not even close to el Huequito for tacos al pastor. But I did not have to wait in any lines at any of the places I ate during a week in October. I did make reservations before hand at several places, though.

I'd make a plan based at least partially on neighborhood, so you are not criss crossing the city too often.

Which places pique your interest from the threads you've read so far? What price range are you looking at?

Dec 10, 2014
erica in Mexico

Best (take-out) Pastries in NYC?

Thanks, Monica! Ideal Cheese is a great highlight around here. Not sure if everyone knows this, but they have a great selection of jarred and canned goods from Italy and Spain, from Marcona almonds to smoked paprikas. I used to go to Arthur Avenue for pasta, but Ideal now carries excellent imported brands at very good prices. (Now they have Giuseppe Cocco in several shapes). They also carry Balthazar baguettes. But these are not so great, in my opinion; no doubt much better at the store, where they would be freshly baked all day. (There's also Food Emporium, with TomCat baguettes..anyway I am getting way off track here, so thanks again!)

Dec 10, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Best (take-out) Pastries in NYC?

Thanks ever so much. Great bread is sorely lacking in this neighborhood so I will pass by soon to try their baguette (and probably a few other things!)

La Tropezienne (post below) is one I've been meaning to stop at for years and years; last years Times article called the place the source of some of the "best French bread and pastry in New York."

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/nyr...

Dec 10, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Best (take-out) Pastries in NYC?

Monica do you mean the Eclair in the East 50s? If so (that is my neigborhood), what do you like there?

Dec 10, 2014
erica in Manhattan

where to buy Auricchio Provolone

My point was that we do not know if Eataly or Buon Italia carries this cheese. I somehow doubt that Eataly carries it, but a phone call should be made to avoid a wasted trip.

Di Palo does carry Auricchio.

Dec 09, 2014
erica in Manhattan

where to buy Auricchio Provolone

That is very interesting! Thank you, Coll!

Dec 09, 2014
erica in Manhattan

where to buy Auricchio Provolone

Since we know that DiPalo has the cheese, why would one try Eataly, which is not strong on southern Italian cheeses and would charge a lot more per pound if they did carry it? Just curious. Solely for convenience, but since the OP mentioned that below USQ is good……

I've never seen this provolone hanging at Buon Italian, which is the Italian store in Chelsea Market, although they well may carry it.

Dec 08, 2014
erica in Manhattan

where to buy Auricchio Provolone

DiPalo (Grand Street) carries this fairly common brand.

Dec 08, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Maille mustards

Thanks, I did read that. I'm in the East 50s, and usually end up taking the train to places to the south/west, but will keep Simone in mind..had forgotten about that review and read almost nothing about it here on CH.

Imagine that there were many here excited by the opening of The Smith on Second Avenue. Here I go again…I've been ranting off and on about this for so may years, I might as well have moved longn ago!

Dec 07, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Maille mustards

"Your" neighborhood is an epicure's dream compared to my own! When, oh, when are we going to get a decent restaurant, bakery, or mustard shop in the Sahara of midtown east?

I will be near there this week so will try to check it out, and will watch for the article in the paper Wednesday.

Dec 07, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Favorite cookbooks by NYC chefs

Of course! I was thinking of restaurant chefs.

Dec 07, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Grocery Shopping on Arthur Avenue

Adding to this thread, a discovery new to me:

The best smoked mozzarella I've had outside Italy, made in house, at Calabria Pork Store.

They also carry n'duja.

Dec 06, 2014
erica in Outer Boroughs

Goat kid

I'd check Arthur Avenue butchers--Vincent's and Biancardi. Also look in Astoria..Plaza Meat Market, next to Mediterranean Foods off Ditmars.

http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bi...

Dec 06, 2014
erica in Outer Boroughs

Maille mustards

Thanks for that!
Sounds like a good gift idea, even if very pricey..

Dec 06, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Favorite cookbooks by NYC chefs

Are you talking about Marcella Hazan? I love her books, but when was she a chef in NYC?

Dec 06, 2014
erica in Manhattan

Favorite cookbooks by NYC chefs

I cook at home almost every night.

MOLTO ITALIANO (Batali) gets lots of use in my house, although by now I know many of the recipes by heart. Love the soup chapter.

I recently bought the cookbook from Franny's and am liking it. (Add butter to many pasta sauces)

Have learend a lot from LIDIA'S ITALY, and most of her other books. (Not as happy about the most recent one, though)

Agree on Dave Pasternak's fish book.

Wanted to like Michael White's books but recipes seemed too complicated for me; I take them out of library and try before buying.

Dec 06, 2014
erica in Manhattan
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