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Duck Duck Goat [Reasonably Authentic Chinese Food]

Duck Duck Goat [Reasonably Authentic Chinese Food]
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  • Duck Duck Goat [Reasonably Authentic Chinese Food]

    Post #1 - March 30th, 2016, 4:59 pm
    Post #1 - March 30th, 2016, 4:59 pm Post #1 - March 30th, 2016, 4:59 pm
    The simulacrum is complete.

    Stephanie Izard's newest restaurant just opened this week, and early photos and reports made both the food and experience seem enticing. Personally, I'm happy with any place that serves egg waffles.

    Many of the dishes are meant to be shared, so an LTH visit may not be a bad idea :)

    Duck Duck Goat
    857 W. Fulton Market
    312-902-3825
    http://duckduckgoatchicago.com/
  • Post #2 - March 31st, 2016, 9:11 am
    Post #2 - March 31st, 2016, 9:11 am Post #2 - March 31st, 2016, 9:11 am
    I had a few dishes that appear on the DDG menu last year at a pre-Beard event. The most notable was a mini-bowl of niu rou mian that seemed to me like a ship-in-a-bottle replica of a bowl from Katy's. It was fine and the noodles themselves got close. Closer than any others I've tried. But I wondered then what I wonder now: what does this show of virtuosity achieve or add? (Not that it needs to, really.) I had the same puzzlement over Next's Thai takeout and steakhouse menus.

    Momotaro makes more sense to me because, unfortunately, Chicago did not have anything more traditional that was even close, particularly after Morimoto's run at Japonais ended - maybe Katsu for fish but that's a very different place.

    Will I eat dim sum and dan dan mien at a celebrity chef's Chinatown dress-up? Maybe, but only if it's better than the diner version.
  • Post #3 - March 31st, 2016, 9:48 am
    Post #3 - March 31st, 2016, 9:48 am Post #3 - March 31st, 2016, 9:48 am
    bernard wrote: Personally, I'm happy with any place that serves egg waffles.



    If you have not already, Check out J Smile 51 on Archer. Egg Waffles all day.

    J Smile 51
    3051 S Archer Ave
    Chicago, IL 60608
    #SOUTHSIDESLITHER
  • Post #4 - April 3rd, 2016, 11:42 pm
    Post #4 - April 3rd, 2016, 11:42 pm Post #4 - April 3rd, 2016, 11:42 pm
    Went tonight with my partner. Had high hopes; left feeling like I'd put a checkmark in the "needs improvement" column. Good enough dinner but I did leave somewhat disappointed.

    First, to me, the unique contribution an American chef can make to "Chinese inspired" cuisine is to play on the theme but be very creative and don't stick too seriously to the original; that is, don't try to replicate an authentic Chinese restaurant. I'm sorry, you're just not going to be able to do it adequately. But doing a creative play on Chinese, in a gastronomic way, could be great. Think Red Farm in NYC, for instance, with their Katz pastrami egg rolls--they're terrific! They don't pretend to be "real" Chinese food, but they're absolutely great in their own right.

    IMHO, DDG tries too hard to be somewhat of a real Chinese restaurant, and of course, doesn't do it all that well. I started with the char siu bao. The dough was all wrong--it was soggy, not fluffy, and almost tasted as if it hadn't been steamed/baked (cooked) enough but it had. It had a "raw" taste, even though it was fully cooked; the texture was wrong. (Not just different; when something tastes raw, that's wrong--not just different). Then I ordered the soup dumplings. I order these frequently in NYC....the ones tonight at DDG were a sad lot--they arrived mostly deflated. Not standing at attention, full of soup and flavor; they were droopy and seemed drained of the soup inside; most had fallen flat, like a ballon with the air gone out of it. I ordered the slap noodles. I thought this might be really good--creative and an American twist on a noodle dish with short rib. Once again, the noodles were just "wrong"---mushy, glutinous blobs that were almost unpleasant to eat, in a too sweet sauce.

    The Lion's Head soup was pretty good; I'd order that again. The eggplant with sausage was good, and the pork fried rice was tasty. The Chongquing Chicken was fair--mostly dark meat deep fried with some spices and peppers. Not particularly creative and not as tasty as I can get at many places in Chinatown.

    In all, it was fair, but sorely "needs improvement" in my humble opinion. A real disappointment as I had expected a real American chef's creative twist on Chinese food. This was a kind of naive attempt to mostly recreate Chinese dishes with minor twists here and there (goat, anyone?), and the amateur attempt really shone through especially on the dishes involving noodles, soup dumplings, or bao. Not a place to which I'd necessarily return, unless they make major changes in the direction they are heading and major changes in their technical expertise.
  • Post #5 - April 4th, 2016, 7:47 am
    Post #5 - April 4th, 2016, 7:47 am Post #5 - April 4th, 2016, 7:47 am
    Your comments remind me of what I feel about PF Changs- Chinese food cooked by Mexicans for White people. With Chinatown down the st, what's the point?
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #6 - April 4th, 2016, 8:43 am
    Post #6 - April 4th, 2016, 8:43 am Post #6 - April 4th, 2016, 8:43 am
    I agree that DDG's ethos of mostly recreating existing dishes and then upcharging to West Loop prices is a bit discouraging. Having now eaten there, it falls into the same category as Lamian for me, slightly better executed Chinese food in a nicer setting (though I don't really like the theme of recreating old-style Chinese restaurant).

    The jiaozi with beef and bone marrow has a unique flavor profile and is encased in a near perfect dumpling wrapper and drizzled with a tasty black vinegar juice. I do think they could have crisped the bottom better and I prefer my dipping sauces on the side so it doesn't ruin that crispiness.

    Do not order the pickled vegetables. Really bland and the only thing Asian about them is the daikon.

    The XO noodles are little rolls of noodles fried to a gorgeous flavor and texture in a flavorful soy seafood broth and copious amounts of quality seafood. This is just a satisfying bowl of noodles even if it is "nothing new."

    Lastly we had the eggplant and sausage dish. This one had some problems because not all of the eggplant was cooked all the way through. I personally think eggplant is best when really broken down and infused with other flavors, so the fact that like a 1/3 of the pieces of eggplant did not meet this criteria was disappointing. However, this is a solid and hefty slightly sweet soy dish. I would have preferred a more adventurous Chinese eggplant dish, but DDG is not really adventurous.

    I personally am not surprised that the cha shao bao or XLB were disappointing, these are hard dishes to execute and should probably be left to specialists. I mean the picture of the XLB on Yelp warned me off with their wide open tops. Even Chinese bakeries in Chicago like Chi Quon do relatively poor bao IMO. I think ordering and judging this place or other Chinese restaurants based on items like these is a disservice to both other readers and your wallet.
  • Post #7 - April 4th, 2016, 9:25 am
    Post #7 - April 4th, 2016, 9:25 am Post #7 - April 4th, 2016, 9:25 am
    DutchMuse wrote:First, to me, the unique contribution an American chef can make to "Chinese inspired" cuisine is to play on the theme but be very creative and don't stick too seriously to the original; that is, don't try to replicate an authentic Chinese restaurant. I'm sorry, you're just not going to be able to do it adequately.


    Would you say the same about Rick Bayless?
  • Post #8 - April 4th, 2016, 9:39 am
    Post #8 - April 4th, 2016, 9:39 am Post #8 - April 4th, 2016, 9:39 am
    jordanhojo wrote:
    DutchMuse wrote:First, to me, the unique contribution an American chef can make to "Chinese inspired" cuisine is to play on the theme but be very creative and don't stick too seriously to the original; that is, don't try to replicate an authentic Chinese restaurant. I'm sorry, you're just not going to be able to do it adequately.


    Would you say the same about Rick Bayless?


    I can't say because when I want Mexican (for better or worse) I go to Pilsen not Bayless. I simply can't comment.

    When I saw some descriptions and photos from friends who went early on (maybe friends and family?) I got really excited. Some dishes looked so creative. Then I got there and the server described one dish as "basically cashew chicken." :-(
    you get the picture. And yes my eggplant was as you described. Some were hard and not fully cooked and others were tender and cooked through.

    Anyway.....
  • Post #9 - April 4th, 2016, 1:20 pm
    Post #9 - April 4th, 2016, 1:20 pm Post #9 - April 4th, 2016, 1:20 pm
    The Bayless comparison doesn't seem entirely apt- unless Izard has an all-consuming, scholarly devotion to Chinese regional cuisine and culture that she's been concealing.

    From the message that DDG is conveying and the reports, this is only supposed to be a playful love letter to Chinese food and restaurants. Fine. But one of the unavoidable difficulties is that the food and restaurants being emulated are not extinct, or rare, or really lacking in a way that calls out for a modern Western chef's touch. Hot dogs could be Hot Douged because they were cheap street food. And despite the chefly innovations, the place remained a hot dog stand. Not everything can or should be so improved.
  • Post #10 - April 4th, 2016, 2:03 pm
    Post #10 - April 4th, 2016, 2:03 pm Post #10 - April 4th, 2016, 2:03 pm
    I was not comparing Izard to Bayless - I absolutely agree that Izard is not trying to create an entirely authentic experience at DDG. I was simply challenging the thought that a "Western" chef is not able to adequately take on some other regional cuisine. I did read an interesting article recently on this very topic: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/03/22/471309991/when-chefs-become-famous-cooking-other-cultures-food
  • Post #11 - April 4th, 2016, 2:21 pm
    Post #11 - April 4th, 2016, 2:21 pm Post #11 - April 4th, 2016, 2:21 pm
    It's true that non-native chefs can become masters of native cuisines. Bayless is one example. Andy Ricker and Ivan Orkin are others. In all three of those cases, the chef was relentless in trying to master the cuisine with all of its nuisances in order to cook "authentically " (there's that word again). And lets not forget about every Guatemalan cooking in any restaurant anywhere.

    From the sound of things (note that I have not yet been to DDG), it seems that Izard is offering a sort of Disneyesque version of a Chinese restaurant. The disconnect for me is that the real thing is so easily accessible. If DDG opened up in Iowa, for example, and I happened to live there, I'd be glad it was in my neighborhood.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #12 - April 4th, 2016, 3:06 pm
    Post #12 - April 4th, 2016, 3:06 pm Post #12 - April 4th, 2016, 3:06 pm
    stevez wrote:If DDG opened up in Iowa, for example, and I happened to live there, I'd be glad it was in my neighborhood.

    But I'm glad you're not living in Iowa, and I'm guessing you are, too.
  • Post #13 - April 4th, 2016, 5:50 pm
    Post #13 - April 4th, 2016, 5:50 pm Post #13 - April 4th, 2016, 5:50 pm
    stevez wrote:It's true that non-native chefs can become masters of native cuisines. Bayless is one example. Andy Ricker and Ivan Orkin are others.

    Diana Kennedy says hola.
  • Post #14 - August 17th, 2016, 12:11 pm
    Post #14 - August 17th, 2016, 12:11 pm Post #14 - August 17th, 2016, 12:11 pm
    Started a lunch takeout window today - http://chicago.eater.com/2016/8/17/1251 ... indow-menu

    Anyone been lately? Have heard some fairly mixed reviews from a couple of friends but still eager to give it a go at some point. Any favorites?
  • Post #15 - August 17th, 2016, 2:49 pm
    Post #15 - August 17th, 2016, 2:49 pm Post #15 - August 17th, 2016, 2:49 pm
    I went there for lunch a few weeks ago. I'm a big fan of Girl & the Goat, and have grown to love Little Goat (now that I know how to order), but this was a miss for me. It's hard for me to really enunciate why. I understand that it's going for the American-Chinese restaurant experience, but the food kind of fell into the uncanny valley - not Americanized enough to be distinct, and too close to the originals to avoid an (unfavorable) comparison. These are the dishes I remember:

    Char Siu Bao - the meat was excellent, but the bao was way too doughy and sweet for me. It was a man-to (I'm not sure what the proper transliteration is) bread, which just doesn't work with the pork.

    Xiao Long Bao - I didn't have any due to a crab allergy, but my brother and cousin both agreed that the wrapper was too thick, and the soup too thin.

    Jiaozo - These were ok, but not remarkable. I had more hopes for the bone marrow, but couldn't really taste it.

    Goat Belly Lo Mein - this was actually quite excellent - the goat was a natural fit, and the noodles had all the crisp bits and smokiness from a good stir-fry.

    Ham Sui Gok - This was the one thing I thought was an actual improvement over the original Chinese dish. The pastry shell was thinner, crisper, and less greasy than I'm used to, which made it a real winner.

    We ordered a few other dishes, but I just can't remember much about them except that they generally weren't remarkable.
    "I've always thought pastrami was the most sensuous of the salted cured meats."
  • Post #16 - February 16th, 2017, 3:43 pm
    Post #16 - February 16th, 2017, 3:43 pm Post #16 - February 16th, 2017, 3:43 pm
    Authenticity, schmauthenticity is what I say, provided the food is great. Unfortunately, I didn't think it was. Nothing wrong with it. But the dishes we had (Shrimp Toast, Chicken Chow Fun, and Sichuan Eggplant & Goat Sausage) were pretty bland/meh. Flavors were "pastel," for lack of a better word. Maybe we ordered the wrong things.

    Service was friendly and competent. Decor is special, so may be worth going for if that's enough reason for you.

    The exception to bland/meh in the food department was the Taiwanese Pineapple Cake, which we shared and enjoyed.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #17 - July 5th, 2017, 8:05 am
    Post #17 - July 5th, 2017, 8:05 am Post #17 - July 5th, 2017, 8:05 am
    Independent George wrote:Xiao Long Bao - I didn't have any due to a crab allergy, but my brother and cousin both agreed that the wrapper was too thick, and the soup too thin.

    Goat Belly Lo Mein - this was actually quite excellent - the goat was a natural fit, and the noodles had all the crisp bits and smokiness from a good stir-fry.

    Ham Sui Gok - This was the one thing I thought was an actual improvement over the original Chinese dish. The pastry shell was thinner, crisper, and less greasy than I'm used to, which made it a real winner.
    We had the exact same impression as Independent George. Xiao Long Bao were meh (too little soup & thick wrapper, flavor ok) but the Lo Mein & Ham Sui Gok were delicious, the savory goat filling of the latter really hit a spot with me.

    The twice cooked pork hit a note with Mrs Willie but I thought it was just ok. We both felt the goat spring rolls were good but nothing to make a special trip for.

    Edited to add: had some delicious cocktails, specifically the BEBOP 'N WOK STEADY - Benz Mezcal, Pineapple Fresno Shrub, Ska Modus Mandarina, Lime, Salt as well as BEFORE THE DAWN - Kettle One Vodka, Blood Orange Liqueur, Ginger Liqueur, Rose Demerara, Lemon, Sea Salt, Activated Charcoal
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #18 - June 13th, 2018, 10:24 am
    Post #18 - June 13th, 2018, 10:24 am Post #18 - June 13th, 2018, 10:24 am
    Stephanie Izard will explore Taiwanese street food with new walk-up window, Baobing

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... story.html
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin

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