Memorable | One of the Best
Review by: ayersian
When we were living in the backwoods of Maine, Portland was always the shining star of our cultural and culinary aspirations. For quick trips during the week, our hour-plus drive to the Old Port would be rewarded with beauteous burgers, fries, and Moxie sodas from Woody’s on Middle Street. When Woody’s sadly closed, we wondered what would happen to that unique brick-building space. Duckfat opened there in 2005, touting Belgian fries cooked in 25% real duck fat, alongside custom panini sandwiches, milkshakes, and donuts.
Duckfat offers upscale versions of classic sandwiches, such as the homemade meatloaf panini with cheddar, pickled red onion, and horseradish mayonnaise sheathed in crusty bread from another Roadfood favorite on Commercial Street: Standard Baking Company. Perfectly pressed and warmed, the meatloaf is fabulously flavorful and transformed into the perfect meal when complemented by Duckfat’s namesake fries. Served in a paper sleeve like the one at the Roadfood-endorsed Pommes Frites in New York’s East Village, these potatoes are crispy, creamy, and shamelessly addictive. The duck fat makes them lighter than you’d expect, and dipping them in one of six various sauces (we picked malt vinegar mayo and Thai chili mayo) is quite the taste revelation.
On the dessert side, we can’t resist the orange-scented churros with spicy chocolate dipping sauce. These bite-sized cousins of the original foot-long versions are crunchy and sweet with cinnamon sugar, but the dark, chili-laden chocolate lifts these Mexican fried flutes to a whole new level. Duckfat’s loose take on New Orleans beignets resembles small donut holes instead of the pillowy, powdered sugar-dowsed pastries found in the French Quarter. Though nowhere near the majesty of those from Café du Monde or Morning Call, they are still a cut above mere donuts with their artisan presentation and a liberal dusting of nutmeg-spiced sugar.
Duckfat also makes luxurious milkshakes with local ice cream, though we are entranced by their homemade strawberry & hyssop soda. Its light berry smack and low carbonation are accented by a minty hint of hyssop. Other menu items that we pondered over were the duck confit panini, the grilled blueberry jam & mascarpone brioche, the corned beef tongue panini, and the duckfat poutine, but those will be reserved for our next trip to Duckfat.
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