A while back, we took at stab at predicting the future, as we've been known to do from time to time when it comes to upcoming trends in food. Just call us EEEEEATStradamus. In this particular instance of clairvoyance, we were sure that Peking duck would become the hot food item of the moment, pointing to a few factors, including the news that the team behind Red Farm would open Decoy, a restaurant dedicated entirely to Peking duck dinners.
Well, it's been a year since we made that statement, Decoy is open and serving diners, and WHAT THE F*CK PEOPLE? Nothing. There's been no frenzy of social media, no long form pieces of journalism on the history of the food's origin, and I haven't seen a thing from Eddie Huang about how he can make a better Peking duck than anyone in this town except he's not gonna. I guess I'm just a little bit disappointed.
Despite my inability to stir up hysteria like the Farmer's Almanac does when it predicts the weather, I am happy about one thing - Decoy is really good. The entire concept of this restaurant is simple, and that's the best part. You order a Peking duck dinner, you get the bird along with an absolutely absurd amount of other food, you eat, you go home happy. We actually like this place better than Red Farm, because they play the duck straight. It doesn't come stuffed with Katz' pastrami, nor is it made to look like Pac Man or a Ninja Turtle. It's just very good and very familiar. Like it should be.
The only problem with Decoy relates to the price. The standard Peking Duck Dinner will set you back $65 per person, and while it does come with an incredible amount of food, that's a whole lot more than you'll spend on a similar meal in Chinatown or the Upper East Side. Then again, this is West Village, and this is the restaurant group that's best known for serving dumplings to celebrities and having $5,000 Japanese toilets in the bathroom. What did you expect? Here's one thing I can predict, people are going to eat here regardless. Now I just have to figure out how to get them to become unreasonably excited about it.
As we said, the Peking duck at Decoy is Peking duck like you know it - crispy skin, moist meat, scallions, pancakes, etc. They do serve it with a peanut sauce and a sort of jam along with the hoisin, but you don't really need to mess with either. This is best in it's most classic form.
An excellent cold octopus salad that has some kind of wasabi dressing on it. Order this for one of your starters.
Red Farm has made a name for itself on creative dumplings, and these are a perfect example of that. I'm not even sure what's in them, but I do know you should eat them. Another good starter option.
If you're at Decoy with more than two people, at least one "Main Dish" will come with your meal. If you have one to order, this sliced steak is what you want. It was a $10 supplement for our party of four, but we were already pretty deep in the hole, so we went for it. Damn was it worth it. This thing comes sliced thin and perfectly cooked. We'd spend the money again in an instant.
Another excellent option for a main dish if fish is what you're feeling. This is light and delicious.
Rice will also be a part of your meal at Decoy and this is the one you want. Pretty much anything full of crab and scallops is going to be good, and this rice is no exception. Order away.