Peking Duck House


I don’t know why, but all of a sudden I was craving some Peking duck tonight.  It came suddenly, swiftly and in an unexpected manner.  A quick search on Google returned Peking Duck House.  There were two locations, and despite the one in Midtown East having slightly higher prices, I decided that the closer proximity was worth it.  So I thought I’d give it a whirl; my first Peking duck since I left Peking over a year ago.  Readers should note that I’m very partial towards authentic Chinese food, and in over a score of years, I have never found a westernized or fusion Asian restaurant that I’ve really liked.  Thus, I really truly hoped on the inside, that this one was relatively authentic.

The duck here was actually not bad, but not great of course.  And, I was pleasantly surprised that they actually did have a chef come out and slice the duck up before your eyes.  Although it was a poor slicing job, I was pleased enough not to say anything to the guy.  I have complaints too about the lack of crispiness in the skin, the not-as-juicy-as-I-would’ve-liked meat, and the lack of additional toppings like sliced garlic, etc.  Also, I’m not so happy that I couldn’t get two bowls of complimentary duck soup, or at least take the duck’s bone frame home with me, but I guess this isn’t mainland China.  However, the bottom line is that the duck was good enough to satisfy my cravings.  I did have very low expectations though, for where could I possibly find real Peking duck around here?

The real surprise was the size of things.  If an actual Chinese came to the restaurant and saw the food without seeing any Americans, they’d probably think this was a land of giants.  Everything about the duck was almost exactly the same, but bigger, except for the actual duck itself.  The pieces of duck were served in bigger slices.  The tortilla-like wrap was double the biggest wrap I’d ever seen in China.  The cucumber slices were probably three times in larger than usual and the scallion was also so thick compared to the norm.  I was not prepared for this.  I feel like the largeness of everything took away from the subtlety of real Peking duck’s deliciousness, substituting quality with quantity.

But again, I was adequately satisfied by the duck.  What was less exciting was our order of Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce.  I felt it was more insight into what the normal dishes at the restaurant were probably like, big and bland.  Yes, the Chinese broccoli was also massive in size compared to what would’ve been presented to me in a Chinese restaurant in China.  It was also poorly cooked though, and weak in flavor.  I thought the garlic was delicious though, but that might just be because I like garlic a lot.  Still, at least I felt like it was relatively nutritious for me.  Even the complimentary oranges at the end were of low quality.  They only brought us four slices; I really wonder what happened to the other half of the orange…  At least we both got very appropriate fortunes from our fortune cookies.

I don’t really know if I’ll be back here again.  Maybe next time I’ll try out the other Peking Duck House in Chinatown and see if it’s any better/different.  The only reason I’d probably be back is if I end up staying in NYC longer and I suddenly get another craving for Peking duck one day.


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