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

Black Duck on Urbanspoon

(Stock photos: Ralph and Jenny, kimberlykv)

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  • Yvo November 24, 2008  

    If you say resto one more time, I’m unsubbing from the site. *BARF*

  • BS November 24, 2008  

    OK fine. I thought I’d try it out just this once – it saves so many letters! But you’re right. Is there a less barf-y way we can shorthand restaurant? restaur. just doesn’t flow right.

  • gansie November 24, 2008  

    yvo, i have to say, i’m totally into *resto*
    but then again, i use abrevs all the time. even when i speak. fine, it’s a problem.

  • Yvo November 24, 2008  

    Gansie, I totally love abbrevs as well. I went to a hs full of turds who used abbrevs like it was crack and they couldn’t stop. But I have to draw the line at resto because WHERE DID THE O COME FROM? And it just sounds douchey. (I have to say, the restaurant Resto is actually pretty good though. I just hate their name.) It’s like “Omg, I totally got ressys at the hot new resto in Dumbo”… I would stab that girl if I met her. I’ve sat near her on the subway and it’s enough already !!!

    BS – how about place. lol. I ate at the new place. Or… I’ll think on this, I have to actually leave work now

  • Alex November 24, 2008  

    I think resto might be a French influenced thing…”au restau” is short for “au restaurant” and IS actually pronounced the same way that the real word is (in French “-au” is pronounced like “o” in English.)

    I’m not saying it’s still not annoying (sorry BS, you know how I am about words and not saying them right), but that’s where it comes from I think.

  • BS November 24, 2008  

    LOL. place it is.

  • vio November 25, 2008  

    The scallops with the black grapes were the most amazing scallops I’ve ever had… I’m always a fan of sweet and salty, but the texture of the combination was amazing! I’ve tried and failed at having a good crust on my scallops.. does anyone know how to do this?

  • Moira November 25, 2008  

    enough about resto… how about about the damn funniest blog title ever?? Am I the only one who appreciates some good ol’ fashion ODB food humor anymore?? Hysterical!

  • BS November 25, 2008  

    THANK YOU, Moira. For the record, I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to use that one since day one of this blog.

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