As a senior in college and just minutes away from downtown Portland, it is surprising (even to me) that I have yet to become acclimated with a lot of well known Old Port eateries. Take Duckfat, an extremely well known Portland restaurant, mentioned in Food and Wine Magazine, in their June 2005 issue for a Thick Shake with Strawberry Mascarpone Panini. They were also mentioned on Eater for their updated 18 Essential Maine Restaurants, October 2012 edition. The owner of Duckfat has also competed on the food show “Chopped” and “Chopped Champions”. To say that they’ve been around the block is an understatement about Duckfat. Lucky for me, my roommate M and I decided to check it out for lunch, and see what all the commotion and press really is about.
All I can say is I wish I had made it there sooner, because all the hype is legitimate. Duckfat is impressive! The atmosphere is casual, mixed with a 20’s vibe, with the calming background jazz music, and the fun seating up high. But the food…the food is worth talking about for days and days, and maybe more days on top of those. I’ve always heard that if you go to Duckfat, to try the fries, because they are supposed to be some of the best fries in the entire Old Port!
Wanting to try the fries, and fulfilling a life long foodie goal (never tried Poutine) we ordered the Poutine. If anyone isn’t familiar with what Poutine is, it’s an extremely popular dish in Canada, made with fries, gravy, and cheese curds. They brought out two forks and we dug in! The small was pretty large, and I suspect that had we ordered a large, it could have been a whole meal right there! Gravy and fries and cheese curds don’t sound extremely logical, but they are to die for. Try it, because your taste buds will sing. And yes, the fries are pretty damn good!
Next, we had sandwiches, which is the other thing that Duckfat is known for besides their to die for fries. I ordered the Duck Confit, and my roommate ordered the Tuna Melt. I’m not a tuna melt fan myself, so I didn’t try it. However, my Duck Confit was out of this world. I stopped in my tracks after taking that first bite. I had no words, it was so good. It was then that I knew, Duckfat and I were about to become very good friends.
It just blew my mind as far as a sandwich goes. It was on fresh bread, with napa cabbage slaw, cilantro,spicy mayo, and tender duck, with some fresh lettuce keeping it crisp. I love duck but I have never tasted duck like this. Foodie Heaven has been unlocked. Needless to say, I will be back to try more of this heavenly menu!
And in January, for a date, I did return (along with returning in March and June…see a pattern?). Pretty sure it’s my go to place now! As a foodie, I made sure to order something different this time: their Meatloaf Panini.
I was very tempted and wanted the pork belly, but ultimately went for this instead. I was intrigued what lime cilantro on a meatloaf sandwich essentially, would taste like. Well, I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was just one great bite after another! Amazing! Duckfat is even better on the second visit, I swear.
And this time, I got dessert. Because where else in the Old Port are you going to find a place that serves a Root Beer Float, with vanilla gelato, especially when it was literally less than 20 degrees outside?
It was such a naughty thing to order, being lactose intolerant, but I couldn’t resist it. Yummy! The perfect end to an equally perfect date. Only issue being I felt like I needed a wheelbarrow to get me out of the restaurant. But worth it. So worth it!
And the list of things that are great at Duckfat really just go on and on. Having now been there 4 times, I can say this is my favorite restaurant in all of Portland. I have yet to try anything on the menu, may it be a special such as the pork loin panino or the classic Duck Confit, that isn’t fantastic.