We went here specifically for Peking duck one evening. I called ahead one Saturday afternoon to find out if they would make a reservation for just two people that night (yes) and then inquired about the Peking duck. Yes, it was available and they would order it ahead of time for us. While the restaurant was rather full and some people were waiting we were seated right away in a back corner table that was nicely quiet. The menu is absolutely enormous, and though we knew essentially what we wanted you might want to have a look at their rather sophisticated online menu ahead of time. The Peking duck ($28) also comes with an option for $10 more to have minced duck in lettuce cups with it, so we ordered it as well. We just wanted some vegetables to go along, and the waiter suggested a few popular dishes and we chose wok fried pea vines with roasted garlic ($18), along with pur eh tea (a more interesting variety). We declined wine or any of their more elaborate cocktails, but I decided on a gin and tonic. That was the one miss of the evening, which I'll explain later.
The tea arrived immediately and is kept warm over a candle, a very nice touch. The Peking duck followed a few minutes later - a large round platter with finely shredded lettuce and fried rice noodles scattered over it, with the most glorious looking duck in pieces over it. The skin was as crisp as could be, and there was virtually no discernible fat. Served alongside were nice steamed "pancakes", about 3" across, but thicker than any I've ever had with this dish before. This wasn't a bad thing in my mind, in fact I think it was an improvement. Perhaps they were about 1/4"-1/3" thick, with a nice crease across it to make it easy to fold around the duck. Very finely shredded green onions and hoisin sauce were also served.
My companion and I dove right in. The duck was absolutely magnificent, probably the best version I'd ever had. Crackly crisp skin, juicy duck, tucked into the doughy pancake with the sauce and green onions - just perfect. We made short order in polishing it off, and it was finger licking good. Then the minced duck arrived, and the lettuce cups had been cut with pinking shears so the edges were zig-zagged. A nice touch. The lettuce was cold and crisp and again the duck was fabulous, totally grease free, and we gobbled it all down. The pea shoots with garlic then followed, and they were equally delicious. One or two shoots were a bit tough at the end of the stem but the color was bright, the roast garlic was buttery and smooth, and all in all it made a very nice dish to go along with the rich duck dishes.
When the bill arrived it was accompanied by two 'sugar puffs' - deep fried pate a chou dough (used in eclairs and cream puffs-but not baked) and rolled in granulated sugar. It was a much nicer little treat than a peppermint! They were wonderful as well. The kitchen knows how to fry and keep the grease away.
A very nearly perfect dinner, except for the gin and tonic order that seemed to totally baffle them. The first attempt arrived in a highball glass, no ice, pale ginger ale colored, and I knew immediately that it was wrong and asked the waiter to please try again. Round two arrived in a similar highball glass, and while it was clear, there was no ice in it and no lime, so it went back after I said to the waiter - gin, tonic, ice and lime, please? A third attempt appeared in a few minutes and while it looked right, it had absolutely no gin flavor to it. Could it have been vodka? Even the tonic seemed not right. Could that have been soda water? Hard to know. The final version arrived a few minutes later, but again, no gin flavor was apparent. At that point I simply gave up and when the waiter returned to check on us, I asked that it be removed from the bill, and he immediately agreed and removed the glass. I'm not sure quite why this was so hard to get right since they do make much more complicated cocktails and presumably have all the ingredients on hand.
Would I go back? In a split second. But I think I'll just skip the G&T!
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As someone who travels to England every summer for a month, this has become my favorite cocktail, especially in warm weather. You're almost there, but not quite. Unfortunately we cannot get Schweppes lemonade here,which is the essential mixer. 7-up and Sprite are much too sweet. Ginger ale is okay but different. Collins mix isn't bad either, but not the same. The best substitution for the Schweppes lemonade (which is a clear, carbonated with very tiny bubbles ubiquitous drink in the UK) is French or Italian carbonated lemonade sold at Trader Joe's and speciality markets.
In England this drink is served with a few sliced strawberries, a slice (or spear) of cucumber, a slice of orange (not lemon) and a sprig of fresh mint, and in a tall Collins glass over ice. Wonderful! In the UK they have Winter Pimm's, which is a brandy based version for a hot drink. There used to be Pimm's Nos 1-6, each based on a different apirit but now there are just these two. Enjoy!