Silver Spoons: We've moved beyond l'orange to birds that are duck, duck, good.
I’m old enough to remember when — outside of a Chinese restaurant — duck was served a l’orange or not at all. The faux French styling became a cliché. And in less than expert hands, it was cloyingly sweet and unpleasantly greasy — enough to put a girl off the bird forever. Not anymore. The leaner and more flavorful Muscovy has replaced the Long Island or Peking as the breed of choice for chefs, and it’s easy to find duck done up all kinds of delicious ways. Pete Kerling grinds duck meat with veal for the Bolognese that tops Osteria di Valerio & Al’s pappardelle pasta (408 W. St Clair Ave., Cleveland, 216- 685-9491, $18). “I didn’t invent this recipe,” he says, “one of my predecessors did. But it’s a beautiful tomato sauce, rich, layered with tastes, and I wouldn’t change a thing.” Me, either. Though Gavi’s is an Italian restaurant, Ron Romanini’s Asian-inspired black lacquered duck only nods to the land of linguine (38257 Glenn Ave., Willoughby, 440-942-8008, $28.95). He uses espresso along with soy sauce, honey, ginger, sesame oil and a splash of beurre blanc (take that, a l’orange) in the dark and crispy preparation. For a poultry trifecta, visit Saucy Bistro for Jill Vedaa’s Duck 3 Ways (24481 Detroit, Westlake, 440-835-3559, $19). She plates a salad of arugula, toasted walnuts, goat cheese and duck confit with slices of roast duck in a dried cherry demi-glace and adds a slab of seared foie gras. It’s something to quack about.