With so many restaurants and cuisines in Queens to try, it’s sometimes hard to keep track. Take Crescent Grill for example. It had over a year since I dined at the farm to table restaurant in Long Island City. So a few weeks ago I returned for a quiet late night dinner with a friend. I seem to recall lots of cheflike touches—the use of gelees and whatnot—from my last visit. This time around there were no gelees or foams just straightforward confident cooking as evidenced in my entree, the Duka spiced duck ($30).
As soon as I read the words “duck offal pate,” I knew I was going to order this dish. I’d never heard of Duka spice, but was game to give it a whirl. (It turns out be an Egyptian spice blend comprised of nuts, sesame seeds, coriander and cumin, among other things.) The duck is cured in the Duka spice and then seared before being slowly roasted, the result is juicy flavorful meat with a lovely crisp skin. It’s served atop beads of Israeli cous cous cooked in vegetable stock, fermented orange preserves, turnip greens and herbs, mounted with butter and finished with a nut mixture that includes pistachios, almonds, walnuts and cherries. The accompanying turnips were lovely as well.
The puck of gamey rich duck offal pate comes coated with a mixture of pistachios. It’s made from a combination of duck gizzards, livers and hearts and flambeed with whiskey and enriched with port. A burnt vanilla honey gastrique ties everything together.
This is one of those dishes where it’s best to try a bit of everything in one bite, truly outstanding, and frankly worth every penny. You may be tempted as I was not to share with your date, but I counsel generosity, at least in this case.
You’ll definitely want and need to share is the decadent peanut butter pudding, which eats like a treat for grownup kids.
I’m glad that Crescent Grill has such a confident chef in Kenneth Corrow, and I now plan to eat there more than once a year.
Crescent Grill, 38-40 Crescent St., Long Island City, 718-729-4040