Duck Lunch at Ssäm Bar, NY

January 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

New York City (the only place that could ever matter!). I was fortunate enough to have a brief respite from my self-imposed exile to Hokkaido over the holidays, five days of which were spent in (and around) Brooklyn. Since my time was so limited, my meals were meticulously planned. And duck lunch at Ssam Bar, one of my favorite meals in the city, was a non-negotiable.

It was interesting to compare the rotisserie duck over rice I had last spring, about a week after they started serving, with their current offering. The good news – duck lunch is still amazing. Duck is great, I love duck. But this is duck like you’ve never had it before. The crispiness of the skin combined with the fat (which really actually melts in your mouth) is probably one of the most heavenly mouthfuls you could wish for. The meat is incredibly tender and full of ducky flavor. Part of the slice is actually composed of a duck sausage (containing pork) which has been stuffed into the duck under the skin and then cooked on a rotisserie. And trust me, it’s groundbreaking.

The rice component, however, was a slight disappointment. Under the sliced duck and on top of the rice are bits of fatty crispy duck. The first time I had the dish this was incorporated throughout the rice, making the rice unbelievably necessary. This time, with just a sparse sprinkling across the top, the rice felt like an unnecessary extra. The scallion pancake was also a little thinner than I remember, but equally buttery and delightful. I also tried the duck bun and have to say I was unimpressed. The duck had a strange texture, the seasoning was too sweet and acidic, and I absolutely despise the mayonnaise in that context. I would advise sticking with the pork buns.

Despite the slight flaws, duck lunch is still one of the best and most necessary meals NYC has to offer.

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