Fried Branzino Skins, Spicy Mango, Pickled Cucumbers and Cauliflower
Katz’s Pastrami Egg Roll with Honey Mustard
Foie Gras Strawberry Tarts
Soft and Crunchy Vegetable Fried Rice
Hoisin, Cranberry Jelly, Peanut Sauce, Peking Duck, Cucumber Salad, Spring Onions, Asian Pancakes
Owned by Joe Ng and Ed Schoenfeld with a location at 529 1/2 Hudson Street, tucked away below the duo’s Red Farm, Decoy has been said by many to serve New York’s best Peking Duck, and turning those accolades into an all-inclusive tasting menu at $68.50 per person the small restaurant has continually been busy ever since opening, the reservation book generally full a month in advance with limited opportunities for walk-ins.
Low ceilinged, loud and dimly lit, a communal table running the length of the space adjacent the bar with two tables in the windows up front, those entering Decoy at over 6’0” will find themselves ducking through a small door where the hostess stand resides immediately at the base of some stairs, the kitchen in the back shining brightly as everything from Bob Seger to Prince blares from unseen speakers.
Actually a fairly pretty restaurant despite its restricted size and loudness, a limited number of Ducks served each night with paper-thin pancakes, an amuse and appetizers amidst reclaimed wood and black marble with large still-lives of Ducks decorating the walls and potted plants hanging above, diners are given a few decisions to go along with their crispy skinned Fowl and although the kitchen was a bit off, sending Rice nearly twenty minutes after the Bird had landed, the service was friendly and efficient.
Determining the size of the meal by the number of diners, duos offered two appetizers and a choice of Rice to round out their meal, it was with a sizable plate of fried Fish skins and Pickles that the evening got underway, a follow-up fried Oxtail Dumplings essentially cheffed-up Potstickers full of tender Beef ready to be dunked in a sidecar of spicy orange Sauce while the Foie Gras Tarts are one of the most clever preparations of seared Duck Liver in recent memory with a bit of Puff Pastry creating the ‘head’ and sliced Strawberries for ‘wings’ of an edible sculpture.
Adding on one of Red Farm’s Pastrami Egg Rolls via special request, the supple Beef from Katz’s wrapped tightly in a Wonton skin with crispy Vegetables and a bowl of Honey Mustard on the side, palates were soon cleansed by shot glasses of Duck Consomee in preparation for the Peking-style Bird, the broth clean and clear with a lot of umami.
Having already mentioned the Rice, three styles available nightly with the Vegetable version selected this evening clearly imbued with Duck Fat and a lot of Corn plus Onions, Decoy’s main event was soon delivered pre-sliced with sauces both traditional and unique plus all the traditional vegetables, the skin shattering like glass to the tooth and the flesh supple and moist with the best bites either the Legs dipped in Cranberry Jam, then Peanut Sauce or in the traditional manner with a bit of Meat, a shard of Skin and a smear of Hoisin Sauce on a Pancake with Spring Onions.