a blog about food and fun in the saint louis area

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Shaved Duck for Upscale BBQ

Baked Apple
I often select my restaurant destinations with the help of foodie web sites and other local resources. I first heard of the Shaved Duck when Sauce Magazine named it as one of the most underrated restaurants in town. Their website says that they specialize in rustic American cuisine with a “quaint, funky yet soulful vibe …” So of course I had to try it! This is not your typical BBQ joint as this is definitely a more upscale sort of place. You won’t find cowboy motif or large neon beer signs as part of the d├ęcor. When you drive up, however, your taste buds hit overdrive as the smell of smoky goodness greets you. Inside is a comfortable, rather cozy arrangement of tables and booths with a small bar. It definitely has a sophisticated vibe, but is still casual and comfortable. To this point I have been to the Shaved Duck twice, and have had a chance to sample some wonderful dishes. On our most recent visit, appetizers of Baked Apple with pulled pork, bacon and pistachio butter and Smoked Chicken Wings with a mango, ginger and habanero sauce started us off. The apple was cooked just enough to soften the flesh but not to the point of being mushy. The topping, however, was the focal point as the flavors blend perfectly. Ever since my first visit to J Bucks I have been a BIG fan of smoked chicken wings, and these are among the best I have had. Smoked with a dry rub giving a nice level of spice, they come with the habanero sauce on the side. Of course you can use other bbq sauces on the table, but I can’t imagine why you would! Truthfully, the wings need no sauce at all!

Some of our entrees included a Confit Pot Pie with corn, carrots, green beans, potatoes and duck confit in a puff pastry, Smoked Meatloaf with root beer glaze, smoked Shrimp and Grits, and slow smoked duck. Every dish was shared at our table yielding a variety of “best dish” ratings.  The Pot Pie had a melt-in-your-mouth flaky crust covering this wonderful filling highlighted by the duck. The Smoked Meatloaf is a hefty, dense slice that has just the right level of smokiness. I had this on my first visit and was immediately inspired to try and replicate this at home. Though I have done a decent job, it is certainly hard to beat the original! The first time I had the Shrimp and Grits I was blown away by the flavor combination. This second time, not so much. Not sure what changed, but the flavor was a bit bland on this second go around. The Smoked Duck with cherry juniper jam was moist with a crispy skin, and the jam added a nice sweetness to the dish. Two orders of the cornbread rounded out our order for the evening. Regardless of what you order, get the cornbread as a side. It is so good, it could take the place of a dessert. As for desserts, I have never had room to try any of their offerings. Guess I will just need to come back and try again!

By the way, if you go you will see a picture wall dedicated to Drive-ins, Diners and Dives as Guy Fieri and his crew paid the Duck a visit recently.

Ratings Summary:
Yelp: 4.5 (out of 5)
Tripadvisor: 4.5 (out of 5)
Google: 24 (out of 30)

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