Being a restaurant reviewer is a lot like being a detective. With each spoonful of soup and every morsel of fish, I'm gathering clues about what's afoot in the kitchen. Sometimes the mystery lingers, but as I sliced through the seared duck atRestaurant Fourteen Seventy-Two
, the low-country restaurant that opened on Old South Pearl Street in September, I pieced together what had happened as if I'd found the smoking gun. There, between the scored, espresso-colored skin and the nearly rare flesh, lurked a plump parka. My duck must've loved it -- after all, it offered protection from the cold and damp -- but in my mouth the fat was so thick that it was almost impossible to swallow.
Everyone has a different palate for fat. Some like it cooked off (think brittle bacon), whereas others prize the stuff. But when it comes to this water bird, there's little room for disagreement: Duck should be cooked with care, so that its unusually large layer of subcutaneous fat has time to render, or melt away. In this case, an over-hot pan had likely caused the skin to darken too quickly, making the duck look done before enough fat was gone. That's a mistake a home cook would make -- which is somewhat fitting, because Fourteen Seventy-Two is located in a home. At least it was a home for 100-plus years, until Dave Chmura, Rob Young and Scott Bergin transformed it into a restaurant.
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Hungry to know more? Read the complete review of Restaurant Fourteen Seventy-Two here. See also: - Restaurant Fourteen Seventy-Two brings low-country cuisine to the Mile High City - Slide show: A closer look at Restaurant Fourteen Seventy-Two