Ooh Baby I Like It Tartare
As you all know, I consider myself much more of a meat mogul than a fish aficionado. I rarely cook with the wet stuff, mostly because I don’t know many tricks, and I really don’t order it too often either. If you’ll allow me to be a snob for a sec, I have to say I only get excited about fish when I get to eat upscale versions of it. At your average joe resto, I’ll go for a steak or burger over the fish special any day, but if we’re talking the $30 mahi mahi or fresh scallops, than I’m definitely on (off) board.
So when Vio and I got invited to dine at Asian-influenced, pan-Atlantic bistro Black Duck recently, I got pretty stoked over their seafood-heavy menu. Black Duck is set in the Park South Hotel in Murray Hill. It’s actually in the basement of a townhouse connected to the hotel, and aside from the preponderance of single business travelers, it’s devoid of that stuffy hotel resto atmosphere at all, going for more of a neighborhood bistro vibe. Anyway, enough about the atmosphere, let’s talk about fish, baby.
We couldn’t make up our minds about which tuna to sample, so we went ahead and got both the app and main dish. Since we’re talking about fancy fish, can I just say the more of it I eat, the less I’m convinced that it needs to be cooked at all. We started with the tuna tartare, which was incredibly smooth and not fish-y at all, mixed with ginger soy sauce and fresh ginger. But we were even more excited about the ever-so-slightly cooked tuna entree, which is crusted in sesame seeds and served with wasabi and a creamy ginger emulsion.
In other not-very-cooked-fish news, one of Chef Hector Tice’s specialties is the seared sea scallops, which are cooked in a port wine reduction and served with slivers of toasted almonds and sauteed black grapes; a rather Lakshmi-esque creation that works way better than it sounds like it should. For amateur fish-lovers like myself, all three of these dishes do a really good job of using subtle flavors to highlight the never overly-fishy flavors of the fish.
For unrepentant meatheads, Black Duck has your standard high-end mains as well. The espresso-rubbed filet mignon is, well, filet mignon, so pretty awesome obviously. Although I still don’t get the coffee rub thing–I really couldn’t taste the espresso in it at all. There’s also steak frites, and yes, a burger. Aside from the fish, we got most excited about my new favorite dessert: Bananas Foster. Black Duck’s bananas are flambeed with Malibu rum and poured over a glass of Tahitian vanilla ice cream with fresh berries. I could eat this all winter long. Seriously, someone come to my house and make this today, tomorrow, and the next.
Black Duck Restaurant
122 East 28th Street / New York, NY
212.204.5240 / www.blackduckny.com