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20 Duck Dishes to Try

Will duck be the new chicken?

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Chicken breeding methods emphasizing breast meat over the rest of the bird have turned chicken boring. In fact, because the pillowy white flesh is so bland, it must be brined, deep fried, and otherwise bolstered before being served at restaurants.

But a better bird lurks in the wings: For those who value flavor, ducks are all dark meat and often glistening with fat. New York City restaurants have a proud history of serving duck, maybe because some of the best in the world are produced on Long Island, and maybe because diners have become familiar with duck in Cantonese restaurants for well over a century. Putting our ducks in a row, here are 20 good places to score some quacker.

Note: Restaurants are listed based on geography, starting south to north in Manhattan, then north to south in Brooklyn. All photos by Robert Sietsema.

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Vanessa’s Dumplings at City Acres Market

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This food-court stall in a supermarket produces sesame-bread sandwiches in addition to the expected pot stickers. One features chunks of dark flavorful duck dressed with cucumbers, cilantro, and pickled daikon and carrot. Add a squirt of hot sauce and it’s good to go.

Wah Fung Fast Food

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This narrow storefront offers great, inexpensive roast duck. No seating; just collect a well-browned waterfowl — served on a bed of steamed cabbage and rice, and doused with soy-laced drippings — and take it across the street to Liz Chrystie Park. Green ginger-scallion sauce upon request.

Roast duck over rice at Wah Fung No. 1 Fast Food.

Congee Village

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There’s no subtler use of waterfowl in town than the duck congee at Congee Village. Little slivers of meat and skin peregrinate in the white cloud of soup, with the sweetness of the bird brought out by shreds of ginger and leaves of cilantro.

Char Sue

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Adding Western flourishes to East Asian food, Char Sue specializes in roast meats and poultry, bao sandwiches, and noodles, including duck dishes galore. The menu presents five-spice duck wings, duck sandwiches, pulled duck with black bean sauce, and roast duck rubbed with Sichuan spices, which leaves a tingling in the mouth.

Giorgione

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Duck is a common ingredient in Central Italy, generating one of the best pasta sauces imaginable. Find a thick duck ragu ladled over fresh pappardelle at this long-running Italian restaurant, and wash it down with a red like a chianti.

One of the East Village’s best Mexican restaurants presents zarape de pato as an app — though it might also make a nice entrée. Fresh corn tortillas enwrap roast duck nuggets, inundated with a thick sauce of tomato, cream, and habanero — way more tasty than if mere chicken had been used.

Newcomer Yuan specializes in the rice noodles called mi fen, but also pursues several original notions when it comes to the meat-bearing entrees. Crispy duck is cooked like fried chicken, so the skin is supremely crisp and the flesh well-done. Tenderness is unmatched by this method, and all the richness preserved.

Bareburger

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It may not be one of the city’s best burgers, but the duck burger at this homegrown hamburger chain provides a nice alternative to the usual beef, turkey, or vegetarian patty. Get the so-called fire quacker, topped with pepper jack and jalapenos.

Le Coq Rico

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Even though this distinguished French restaurant specializes in heirloom chickens cooked country-style, duck is also on the menu. Sourced in New York State, the waterfowl is a cross between a Mallard and a Pekin duck. Once roasted, it’s pleasing to look at, the skin crackly and the flesh well-cooked: no bistro-style rare duck breast here. One duck feeds three.

One of the most celebrated dishes at this pricey Mexico City transplant is duck carnitas, a half bird served in a cast-iron skilled heaped with shredded onions and sliced radishes, served with a piquant salsa verde and, of course, glove-soft corn tortillas.

Gaonnuri

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This upscale Korean restaurant sits at the top of a skyscraper at the gateway to Koreatown, and the menu stretches the boundaries of cuisine with many creative twists. For example, this is one of the few places to offer duck barbecue, and the smoky flesh thereby produced is unforgettable.

Indian Accent

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Duck is always on the menu in one form or another at Indian Accent. Lately it’s been as a duck hoisin side dish and as a duck khurchan app, but the original formulation was in a spicy duck Chettinad wedged between two wafers and surmounted by a slab of warm foie gras.

The Fat Monk

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Why not switch to duck wings? At this subterranean gastropub, they come in a small cast-iron skillet, swamped with a spicy sauce and dotted with sesame seeds.

Corner 28

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For years this window provided Flushing’s most iconic snack right on Main Street: a fleecy steamed bao folded over a few slivers of duck, with sauce like a salty hoisin. It was a three-bite thrill. A few years ago the establishment moved down 40th Road to the rear of a bustling Chinese prepared-food emporium. At a dollar apiece, these buns remain an amazing bargain.

Taste of Cochin

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Duck is maybe not the first thing you think of when Indian food comes to mind, but in cuisine of Cochin, in the swampy southwestern state of Kerala, waterfowl is a major touchstone. At this Bellerose restaurant in far eastern Queens, several duck dishes are available (consult the Kerala section of the paper menu). Don’t miss duck curry, cut up into bite-size pieces in a masala-laced gravy.

Thai Diva Cuisine

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This postage stamp of a Sunnyside Siamese offers a notable duck green curry. The broth is herbal and coconut-laced, teeming with duck and diverse vegetables and wearing a holy basil leaf on its breast. You’ll remember the flavor — a great foil for the rich taste of duck — long after you first order it.

Go around lunchtime to the Williamsburg stalwart and be faced with two solid duck choices. On one hand there’s a fine duck sandwich filled with seared and sliced duck breast on a demi-baguette. On the other there’s a generous serving of duck hash made with leg confit, along with a couple of eggs. If you’re in a brunchy mood, go for the hash and eggs.

Fancy Nancy

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Making one of the city’s best bar snacks, duck wings here are twice cooked, then glazed with a honey habanero sauce: hot enough to make you sit up and take notice and great nibbled between sips of cocktail at this Bed-Stuy cocktail lounge.

CorTHAIyou.

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For fans of the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup, the kwei thew ped at Corthaiyou will bring the movie to mind. The fragrant broth redolent of five-spice powder throngs with rice noodles and tender duck, which contrasts nicely with the tougher texture of the waterfowl when roasted.

Kings Kitchen

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This Hong Kong-based café offers noodles, dumplings, stir-fries, and rice casseroles, but charcuterie forms the heart of its menu. Offered with a nice wad of steamed greens, the three-item, over-rice selection is the standard order; but you can also indulge with an all-duck platter.

Vanessa’s Dumplings at City Acres Market

This food-court stall in a supermarket produces sesame-bread sandwiches in addition to the expected pot stickers. One features chunks of dark flavorful duck dressed with cucumbers, cilantro, and pickled daikon and carrot. Add a squirt of hot sauce and it’s good to go.

Wah Fung Fast Food

This narrow storefront offers great, inexpensive roast duck. No seating; just collect a well-browned waterfowl — served on a bed of steamed cabbage and rice, and doused with soy-laced drippings — and take it across the street to Liz Chrystie Park. Green ginger-scallion sauce upon request.

Roast duck over rice at Wah Fung No. 1 Fast Food.

Congee Village

There’s no subtler use of waterfowl in town than the duck congee at Congee Village. Little slivers of meat and skin peregrinate in the white cloud of soup, with the sweetness of the bird brought out by shreds of ginger and leaves of cilantro.

Char Sue

Adding Western flourishes to East Asian food, Char Sue specializes in roast meats and poultry, bao sandwiches, and noodles, including duck dishes galore. The menu presents five-spice duck wings, duck sandwiches, pulled duck with black bean sauce, and roast duck rubbed with Sichuan spices, which leaves a tingling in the mouth.

Giorgione

Duck is a common ingredient in Central Italy, generating one of the best pasta sauces imaginable. Find a thick duck ragu ladled over fresh pappardelle at this long-running Italian restaurant, and wash it down with a red like a chianti.

Fonda

One of the East Village’s best Mexican restaurants presents zarape de pato as an app — though it might also make a nice entrée. Fresh corn tortillas enwrap roast duck nuggets, inundated with a thick sauce of tomato, cream, and habanero — way more tasty than if mere chicken had been used.

Yuan

Newcomer Yuan specializes in the rice noodles called mi fen, but also pursues several original notions when it comes to the meat-bearing entrees. Crispy duck is cooked like fried chicken, so the skin is supremely crisp and the flesh well-done. Tenderness is unmatched by this method, and all the richness preserved.

Bareburger

It may not be one of the city’s best burgers, but the duck burger at this homegrown hamburger chain provides a nice alternative to the usual beef, turkey, or vegetarian patty. Get the so-called fire quacker, topped with pepper jack and jalapenos.

Le Coq Rico

Even though this distinguished French restaurant specializes in heirloom chickens cooked country-style, duck is also on the menu. Sourced in New York State, the waterfowl is a cross between a Mallard and a Pekin duck. Once roasted, it’s pleasing to look at, the skin crackly and the flesh well-cooked: no bistro-style rare duck breast here. One duck feeds three.

Cosme

One of the most celebrated dishes at this pricey Mexico City transplant is duck carnitas, a half bird served in a cast-iron skilled heaped with shredded onions and sliced radishes, served with a piquant salsa verde and, of course, glove-soft corn tortillas.

Gaonnuri

This upscale Korean restaurant sits at the top of a skyscraper at the gateway to Koreatown, and the menu stretches the boundaries of cuisine with many creative twists. For example, this is one of the few places to offer duck barbecue, and the smoky flesh thereby produced is unforgettable.

Indian Accent

Duck is always on the menu in one form or another at Indian Accent. Lately it’s been as a duck hoisin side dish and as a duck khurchan app, but the original formulation was in a spicy duck Chettinad wedged between two wafers and surmounted by a slab of warm foie gras.

The Fat Monk

Why not switch to duck wings? At this subterranean gastropub, they come in a small cast-iron skillet, swamped with a spicy sauce and dotted with sesame seeds.

Corner 28

For years this window provided Flushing’s most iconic snack right on Main Street: a fleecy steamed bao folded over a few slivers of duck, with sauce like a salty hoisin. It was a three-bite thrill. A few years ago the establishment moved down 40th Road to the rear of a bustling Chinese prepared-food emporium. At a dollar apiece, these buns remain an amazing bargain.

Taste of Cochin

Duck is maybe not the first thing you think of when Indian food comes to mind, but in cuisine of Cochin, in the swampy southwestern state of Kerala, waterfowl is a major touchstone. At this Bellerose restaurant in far eastern Queens, several duck dishes are available (consult the Kerala section of the paper menu). Don’t miss duck curry, cut up into bite-size pieces in a masala-laced gravy.

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Thai Diva Cuisine

This postage stamp of a Sunnyside Siamese offers a notable duck green curry. The broth is herbal and coconut-laced, teeming with duck and diverse vegetables and wearing a holy basil leaf on its breast. You’ll remember the flavor — a great foil for the rich taste of duck — long after you first order it.

Egg

Go around lunchtime to the Williamsburg stalwart and be faced with two solid duck choices. On one hand there’s a fine duck sandwich filled with seared and sliced duck breast on a demi-baguette. On the other there’s a generous serving of duck hash made with leg confit, along with a couple of eggs. If you’re in a brunchy mood, go for the hash and eggs.

Fancy Nancy

Making one of the city’s best bar snacks, duck wings here are twice cooked, then glazed with a honey habanero sauce: hot enough to make you sit up and take notice and great nibbled between sips of cocktail at this Bed-Stuy cocktail lounge.

CorTHAIyou.

For fans of the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup, the kwei thew ped at Corthaiyou will bring the movie to mind. The fragrant broth redolent of five-spice powder throngs with rice noodles and tender duck, which contrasts nicely with the tougher texture of the waterfowl when roasted.

Kings Kitchen

This Hong Kong-based café offers noodles, dumplings, stir-fries, and rice casseroles, but charcuterie forms the heart of its menu. Offered with a nice wad of steamed greens, the three-item, over-rice selection is the standard order; but you can also indulge with an all-duck platter.

Related Maps