Water and Wall: Duck Confit

Water and Wall Duck Confit

Water & Wall, the newish Virginia Square restaurant has some really solid, crave-worthy dishes. However, we came away from our first meal there with a little confusion.  We ordered beer but got a glass of wine offered only by the bottle. We arrived with excitement about the lambchetta advertised online, but couldn’t find it on the menu. We kept looking for the rest of the cocktail list, but they only offer three vodka drinks in an era when brown booze is the best. The last bit of mystery: Why would a restaurant with water in its name shun fish dishes and opt almost entirely for the world’s fattiest cuts of meat (pork belly, short ribs, sweetbreads,..)?

The Best Thing on the Menu: Duck Confit with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Truffle Aioli and Cider Gastrique fits squarely in the world’s fattiest cuts of meat category, but we don’t care. You’ll pick up that bone with zero to no shame to carnivorously grab every last shred of caramelized meat. There’s a glossy, sticky candy like quality to the duck, which gets offset by the creaminess covering the fried Brussels sprouts. This is the best duck confit dish in the DMV bar none.

Water and Wall Chicken Wings

Water & Wall is Chef Tim Ma’s second restaurant. The engineer-turned-chef’s first spot, Maple Ave is known for its chicken wings, among other tasty things. We’re glad to see the wings made their way onto the menu at Water & Wall too. They’re covered in crème fraiche and Korean red chili paste.

We’ll be back for brunch because that menu looks a little more inspired with its Eggs & Kimchi, Venison Omelet and Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes.

Duck confit not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Taan Noodles: Duck Ramen

 THIS RESTAURANT CLOSED EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2014.

Taan Noodles Duck Ramen

Pork is overplayed when it comes to the meat component in most ramen. Taan Noodles takes it to the next level by going with duck confit that falls right off the bone and into your broth. The Best Thing on the Menu: Taan Shoyu Duck Ramen also contains pickled cucumbers, dashi tomato, scallions, shiitake mushroom, spicy mustard greens, crispy shallots, taan hanjuku tamago (pink egg!) and bamboo shoots.

Think fowl are foul? No problem, there are plenty of pork belly bowls to go around inside this Adams Morgan noodle shop. Like heat? They hook you up with togarashi spice flakes and spicy sesame oil, so you blast off your taste buds if that’s your thing.

Taan Noodles Okonomiyaki

If you’re ravenous and in need of a snack before your bowl arrives, there are a handful of appetizers that pull from Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisines. The best pick here? Japanese okonomiyaki, the traditional street food of Osaka. Having downed many of these fish pancakes from street carts in Osaka, I’m a tougher critic than normal. While the sauces were nailed (Japanese mayo and savory brown sauce) the fish to cabbage ratio could have been more generous. Daikaya has a cool take on this classic.

Unlike their friends Sakuramen down the road, these folks have booze. More importantly, they have a lot of fun with their booze. We loved Second Place is not First Place (the perfect drink while watching the Olympics at the bar) made with Bulleit Bourbon, grapefruit juice, Barenjager and togarashi spice as well as There are Hippies in Asia – a tasty concoction of Nolet’s Gin, lavender vanilla simple syrup, tonic and lavender spice bitters.

Taan Shoyu Duck Ramen not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

Don’t miss a bite: Keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. You might also like Toki Underground and Zentan.

Proof: Duck Confit with Scallion Hush Puppies

Proof Duck Confit

Proof is so much more than the place foodies eat before a Caps game. It’s a dining destination all on its own. The wine and food programs seem to compete for the role of the lead dancer. Is Proof a wine bar with food or a gastronomical, food-focused delight that has a solid wine list? Whichever you decide to be true, don’t order a beer here. It just wouldn’t be fair. We recommend an Oregon pinot from our favorite winemaker Patricia Green.

Back to the food from Haidar Karoum. The Best Thing on the Menu: Warm Duck Confit with Scallion Hush Puppies, Pickled Beech Mushrooms and Tomatillo Salsa Verde is rich, bright and light at the same time. The tart tomatillo salsa cuts the confit – you know duck cooked in duck fat. What could be better?

We’ve also never met a hush puppy we didn’t like. Some of our favorites are at Garden District and Lincoln. Proof’s hushies are a little on the lighter side, with very little grease and some tangy onion flavor.

Proof

There’s another dish on the menu that made a real impression. Let’s say you’re Santa Claus fueling up for a trip around the world. Or, Rob Ryan. Or Rex Ryan pre-weight loss surgery. Order the Cassoulet of Duck Confit, Crispy Pork Belly & House Made Duck Sausage. The meatiest, manliest entree we’ve ever seen with a calorie count that is likely higher than the entire contents of a Cold Stone Creamery. Order it anyway.

Duck confit not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.