1081 Third Ave., 212-888-6333
As a rule, this most local of Chinese delicacies is cooked and served up in this polyglot city by gentlemen from Fujian or Guangzhou, but rarely Beijing. But at the new restaurant Mainland, up on Third Avenue, the proprietors have taken the fairly radical step of hiring a former chef from one of Beijing’s great Peking-duck restaurants to oversee their Peking-duck operation. And what an operation it is. The ducks at Mainland are roasted according to antique tradition, over peach and cherrywood. They’re trundled to the table on a cart covered in white linen, then carved in delicate little slices and arrayed on a white platter. They’re served with bamboo baskets filled with steamy pancakes, along with dishes of plum sauce and slivers of scallions and cucumbers. And how does this Third Avenue facsimile of Peking duck taste? Warm and tender and decadently crisp, just like in the old country.
Best Peking Duck
From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).