Travel: It’s All About Ducks at The Petit Canard in Paris
Oh Paris, it is one of my favorite cities in the world. Of course there are the iconic must-see historic sites that brings in all the tourists, I always believe that it is the small little things that makes Paris so charming and addictive. For me, nothing beats people-watching as I sip on my morning coffee at the corner cafe, Parisians are truly stylish in the most effortless way … I also like to do a little shopping at local boutiques and look for unique deigns that have not make their way to the U.S market yet… or even better, simply walk around the city and soak up that romantic atmosphere in the air. Another thing that I absolutely love about Paris is, of course, the authentic cheese selection, the daily fresh baked baguettes, the wine that’s cheaper than water… and all the food in this magical city. French is known for their delicate palate and the high standard of their cuisine, so it is without a doubt that eating is one of the major activities whenever I come visit.
For the past few trips to Paris, I stayed in St. German, just so I can stay close to all the cool scenes and the fun activities around the neighborhood. This time, I decided to change the scenery and stayed at a new hotel around Montmartre – this is a neighborhood that’s becoming hipper every year, it was mostly famous for the majestic Basilique de Sacré-Coeur and the artist gatherings, now all the little streets on the hills are filled with the coolest new restaurants and trendy speak easy bars, it is not a bad place to be if you want to explore a different side of Paris.
I was in the mood for foie gras, so I did a little Yelp research and asked for recommendations from the concierge. Of all the restaurants around Montmartre, I decided to check out a restaurant called Le Petit Canard. The restaurant, meaning “the little duckling” in English, is all about ducks and only ducks, just as the name suggests. I assume that wouldn’t be a bad place to look for foie gras!
Somewhat predictably, the restaurant is decorated with ducks in all colors and sizes, with the unpretentious plastic tablecloth; it has a relaxed, friendly and homey atmosphere to it. If you haven’t guessed, the menu is filled with ducks cooked in everyway you can ever think of. It is not just the cooking methods that make the duck dishes stand out, it was also the sources of the meat – as the owner proudly told us when he took our orders, all the ducks are sourced from the farm owned by his sister and brother-in-law, the quality of the meat is guaranteed, and it really come through in the flavors.
I stared with fresh pan-seared Foie Gras (Escalope de Foie Gras Grais Peolée) as an appetizer, the foie gras was smooth and buttery with just enough crispiness on each side, the flavor is rich and round, it melts right in the mouth and didn’t feel heavy at all. The vinegar reduction and the grilled pear gave a touch of acidity to balanced out the fattiness. It was so good it’s highly addictive; I’d eat that everyday if I can.
For entrée, I opted for the good ol’ Duck Confit (Confit de Canard) – just as how all the traditional duck confit was prepared, the duck leg is cured and cooked in natural duck fat till the skin is golden and crispy, and the meat is meltingly tender. The dish comes with sautéed potatoes, saucy mushrooms and a side of salad; it looks so simple yet the combination of the textures and flavors is pure perfection, no wonder this dish is qualified as a French classic. My boyfriend ordered the house Cassoulet, which is a stew of duck leg and smoked duck breast in white beans, tomatoes, and sausage. From the brief description on the menu alone, we knew we can’t go wrong with this dish – the complex flavor was deep but not overwhelming, it was hearty and beyond satisfying.
There is no duck in dessert menu, so we simply shared a homemade Crème Brûlée to stay true to the French style and bring this happy meal to an end.
The restaurant is a little gem in the neighborhood – for a restaurant that gets such rave reviews on various websites and media, they are unexpectedly humble and easy going. I feel lucky to have a chance to discover and experience this place. If you ever find yourself in Paris, here is the information of this adorable duck master:
Le Petit Canard
Address: 19, Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris
Telephone: 01 49 70 07 95