Mott Street, at dusk, is a mad house. I had been excited about my meal at Peking Duck House, but as I passed one open fish market after another, with its end-of-day bargaining escalating to a clamorous level, fish guts washed across the sidewalk, the stench, at first, unbearable, but after the fourth, fifth, sixth market, nearly suffocating, I feared that I might have lost my appetite.
But as I made my way inside Peking Duck House, what with its sophisticated décor and ambient lighting, I quickly distinguished this restaurant from those typically settled in Chinatown. One word – tablecloths. What I’m trying to say is that the place looked clean, and cleanliness was all I needed to help me forget about the funky rotten fish outside.
Since we were a party of 8, the staff seated us downstairs where most of the large tables were located. The atmosphere wasn’t as elegant as the upstairs, but a bigger table meant the addition of a Lazy Susan – and a Lazy Susan makes everything better. Among us was Willy, the menu leader – the one who took charge and did all the ordering of food for the table. In the context of a Chinatown restaurant, a menu leader is essential, preferably someone of Chinese descent, but someone who has been to the restaurant before will also do – and for us, non-Asian Willy had been to Peking Duck many a times.
We started with a selection of three different kinds of dumplings – chicken, pork, and steamed vegetable – as well as scallion pancakes and cold noodles with sesame sauce. The appetizer dishes were good, not anything that shocked the senses, but let’s be honest, these aren’t the dishes that define Peking Duck. That’s right, you go to Peking Duck for the duck. That golden, crispy, devour your face off duck. And, it was truly dee-licious. We polished off three of these bad boys and, yet, barely made a dent in the bill.
For a belly-popping dinner at $25 bucks a head plus a convenient BYOW (“bring your own wine”) and no-corkage fee policy, Peking Duck House is the perfect spot for a Chinese-Food frenzied group.
Peking Duck House
28 Mott Street, Chinatown