Delectable Duck!

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My most loyal readers should already be salivating, as they have all personally had the experience I’m about to describe. πŸ™‚

Those who know me know that perhaps my favorite restaurant (though there are many that I love) is the Peking Duck House in mid-town in NYC. I had dinner there last night. This isn’t unusual, as Lois and I have calculated that (including delivery) we have enjoyed somewhere between 500-1000 meals in/from that restaurant over the past 25 years!

I’m writing about it now because last night was the first time I was there since I started blogging, and the meals there are at least worth mentioning once. πŸ˜‰

There are many restaurants in NYC that serve Peking Duck. There are relatively few that serve it outside of the major metropolitan cities. This is largely due to the fact that it’s a time-consuming process to prepare the duck (typically 24 hours!), and it’s expensive. So, restaurants don’t want to prepare a number of ducks, only to have them go unordered.

When your main calling is delivering delectable ducks to the majority of your customers, you don’t worry about this, and prepare an insane number of ducks every single day. Their home page currently highlights a picture of what the duck looks like sliced up, but I don’t know if they rotate the home page photos regularly…

Last night, Lois and I had the pleasure of going with a couple who had not dined there before. That said, both are Peking Duck lovers, who considered the duck at Shun Lee Palace to be “the best”. I’ve eaten there many times in my life, including having the duck there. I hadn’t been there in over 10 years, but went there for lunch a month ago with another VC who chose the place. It’s a fantastic restaurant, and I have nothing but praise to heap on them, but unfortunately (for them), their duck, as outstanding as it is, doesn’t measure up to the Duck House.

So, I will admit to being a little nervous as to how our friends would rate their new duck experience with “the best”. All I can say is that they are either very classy and very good actors, or I should believe them when they say that the duck they had last night was officially the best duck they had ever had (Shun Lee Palace included). Whew πŸ™‚

Basically, this post is done, since it’s ostensibly about the duck. For those who clicked on this only for the duck, stop reading!

OK, if you’re still here, then you either know that the rest of the menu is fantastic as well, or you just couldn’t resist finding out what else I had to say about this restaurant…

Over the years, with as many meals as we’ve enjoyed there, we have developed a set of favorite dishes that never fails to satisfy. Amazingly enough, nothing that has ever been on that list has ever fallen off due to a decline in the consistency or taste satisfaction. Dishes sometimes don’t make the cut because there are too many great choices, and new favorites end up bumping down an old standby which simply won’t fit in your stomach during that particular meal.

Last night is a good example. Typically, a duck produces 10 pancakes. When there are only a few people sharing the duck, the waiters at the Duck House will stuff each pancake a little more, knowing that two people won’t necessarily want five pancakes each. Lois never eats the duck (don’t ask) πŸ˜‰ so there were only three duck eaters last night.

That could have been three pancakes each, easily. For most people, that’s an entire meal. For sure if you add any soup/appetizers and rice, etc. But, somehow, we always manage to order more than we should there. Last night was different, as we wanted our friends to at least taste a few of our favorites. They were certainly game. πŸ˜‰

So, we ordered our current top three non-duck favorites:

  1. Orange Chicken (undoubtedly the greatest version of this dish ever created, anywhere on earth, I’ll bet on it!). This has been my personal top choice for 25 years, and I’ve never waivered.
  2. Grand Marnier Prawns (a relatively new favorite at this restaurant, as it was introduced less than 2 years ago there. We were enjoying it 20 years ago at a long-gone place called Fu’s.) This dish is also mind-bogglingly delicious.
  3. Paradise Beef. This is their take on filet mignon. Lois and I are always amused when people realize they can get top quality steak, in a Chinese restaurant. This dish has been consistently outstanding for 25 years as well.

There wasn’t room (in any of us) to even consider other dishes, like the amazing Prawns in Chili Sauce, etc. In fact, as I mentioned above, I really thought we’d each just sample the above dishes. Not only did we devour all of the dishes (there was one measly strip of Paradise Beef left that I think everyone was eyeing but somehow thought that it would look like we weren’t gluttons if we left something on at least one plate). πŸ˜‰

Of course, then there was dessert (Lois and I are such regulars over the years the we always get dessert on the house, whether we want it or not!). Green Tea ice cream, Red Bean ice cream and lychee nuts (and of course, chocolate and vanilla ice cream as well). I’m very proud to say we only finished 1/2 of the dessert… πŸ˜‰

All in all, a fantastic evening of great food, even better company and yet another fond memory of a meal at the Duck House. I’m sure we added two more regulars to their roster…

P.S. Now for another irony that the universe loves to throw at me. I had considered blogging about this even before we went last night. When we got home, I was sure that I would do it when I finally had a second to breathe today (which turned out to be mid-afternoon). But, in the morning, a good friend, fellow VC, many-time co-investor with me, LP in my fund, etc., etc., etc., wrote out of the blue to say that he and the family would be in town in two weeks, and could Lois and I join them for a meal at the Duck House. Guess who first introduced him to it? πŸ˜‰

Unfortunately, we’ll be down at Zope on the day they come to town, but they have already confirmed that they’re going without us, so apparently we are not the primary attraction in this city… πŸ˜‰