Le Petit Canard must be the ultimate comfort food restaurant. It’s like eating at your parents’ house, that is, if your mother is a kindly lady with a sense of humor who takes great care of you and collects duck-related images and bibelots, and your father is a good cook who knows how to prepare duck in a dozen different ways.
As you may have guessed, most items on the menu involve duck, although there are a few things, e.g., onion soup, escargots and herb-marinated warm goat cheese, for those who don’t like duck (does such exist?).
One of my friends, Christine, started with the onion soup, an authentic version that wasn’t clogged up with a two-inch layer of melted cheese, which is so often the case on the rare occasions when it is found on a menu, usually in a touristy restaurant.
Bonnie and I both had the wonderful soft-boiled egg in a rich sauce of cream, smoked duck breast and foie gras. Bubbling hot in a mini-cast-iron pot, it was warming and soothing on that freezing night.
Perry had the tasty and generous salad of smoked duck breast, citrus fruit and Comté cheese.
The duckfest continued with the main courses. The restaurant thoughtfully offers half-portions of a couple of dishes for those with lighter appetites, and Bonnie had a half order of the delicious magret (breast), a good-sized helping, seared just right.
Christine went for the Parmentier, a layer of duck topped with a purée of chestnuts and potatoes. The latter, of a brownish hue, was not much to look at but tasted delicious.
The same purée accompanied many of the dishes, including my super-tender aiguillettes (duck suprême) with mushroom gravy and fava beans.
Perry had the fragrant and flavorful cassoulet, full of beans, sausages and duck’s leg.
Not surprisingly, we were all too full for dessert, but if we hadn’t been we could have has such traditional favorites – not often seen these days – as crème brulée, tarte tatin and baba au rhum.
Now you know, if you didn’t already: when you crave duck, get thee to Le Petit Canard.
Note: when Nick Hammond reviewed Le Petit Canard here in 2011, his piece sparked a lively debate about duck in French restaurants.