Friday, July 11, 2008
Done with Duplex
So we tried Duplex again last night. Now, before I get into this, I have to give you the proper gastronomical history I have experienced at this establishment. My girlfriend and I had two phenomenal - top drawer, experiences there last year. Then, we went back in the late summer and they fired off a total dud. It wasn't pretty, and I won't get into the details, but I didn't consume more then a few bites of my food , which totally goes against the vacuum ethic I normally bring to the table when it's time to eat.
So, Jess and I made a pact. We said we would wait a few months and head back on a nice night when we could enjoy their patio and see if they could reverse the course we had been lead down our last time we dined there. I didn't happen.
We got there and the Duck "Sloppy Joe" (A cute name for a braised duck sandwich) jumped off the menu at us. Jess and I both decided to order it only to find out the worst possible menu news that could have been whispered into our eager ears - "There's only one left." I hate that phrase, but chivalry is not dead, and I let Jess get the duck. I had been eyeing the ravioli and also caught the gnocchi at the last minute so I inquired with our server and she proclaimed that I should go with the gnocchi, for sure - so I did.
Mistake. Our server touted the gnocchi's perfect pan seared, yet soft consistency, and it was there, but pasta typically has some sort of sauce, which implies moisture and or liquid, and this arrangement totally missed that, feeling more akin to a large gnocchi hash then a true pasta. The accompanying ingredients were oven roasted tomatoes (which were quite good, roasted portabellos, rosemary and brown butter. Needless to say the brown butter was totally dried out and the pasta had more crunch to it then you would ever want from a nice pillowy gnocchi. A simple olive oil drizzle, more brown butter or even the oven roasted tomato jus could have pulsed a slight sense of salvation, but this was a miss, and I just didn't enjoy it.
I will say that the duck dish that Jess ordered was pretty good. The duck and sauce were rich and spicy as a duck ragout/braise should be. The only knock on it that I have was that it was served on what appeared to be a brioche or brioche like bun that quickly absorbed all the rich braising liquid making picking up the sandwich near impossible- but at the end of the day, it is a sloppy joe, and I need to get over myself.
I also can't get to the end of the post without saying that the sandwich was served with the hands-down best sweet potato fries that I have ever had. Perfectly sweet/salty and a great pair with the accompanying lemon aioli.
So to recap - I have had 2 good experiences at Duplex, and now 2 very forgettable ones. I don't believe return trip is in order either, when I have too many other places that I would rather try in the area. Fifty percent just isn't a good enough conversion rate for a city that is booming with other tantalizing culinary experiences. I did want to see if we could revive the memories of the past pleasant meals we've had there but it just didn't work out.
If you do go I would peruse the menu here before hand and try and dine a bit later or go earlier for the happy hour (cheap beer/wine is a no-brainer). I will say that dining later tends to lead to a more limited menu. Also, check out the deserts. At $5 they are cheap and good, but the last 2 times we went we passed due to the results of the main course. If any one else out there has a Duplex experience, please share, as this is just one man's opinion