Eating Like a Regular – In Praise of The Dog and Duck

Dog and DuckLast night, I decided that I needed a burger. I needed one. Never mind that the fridge is full. I can always cook that eggplant tomorrow, right?

My favorite place to get a burger is my neighborhood pub, make that gastropub, The Dog and Duck. Co-owned by James Dolan and Chef Padraigh Connolly, it is located on tree-lined Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside, Queens. It boasts a seasonal menu of diverse cuisines, and ingredients that are locally-sourced are utilized in every dish.

You can dine in the elegant and inviting dining room (lots of booths and natural light), at the bar, or al fresco. Nightly live music (save Fridays)—Irish on Sundays and bluesy jazz otherwise—adds to the convivial atmosphere. The bar is open until 4:00 am and the kitchen until 11:00 pm. According to the manager (and sometimes bartender) Patrick, the kitchen will soon be open (in the coming months) until 1:00 am for late-night snacks.

Chicken sandwich Dog and DuckI’ve sampled various items from the lunch, brunch, and dinner menus. On this particular evening, I tried the Chicken Sandwich with chipotle mayo (left) at the suggestion of the head waiter Alan. It was messy, crunchy, and delicious. I never have room for dessert, but the selection is pretty mouth-watering. Some D&D signature dishes that I’ve not yet had the chance to sample include the Braised Lamb Shank, Duck Confit with wild mushrooms, and the Scallops Gratinee.

In addition to my favorite pub beverage, a pint of Guinness (expertly poured here), they also have seasonal cocktails crafted by Andy, mixologist, bartender, and world traveler. He utilizes fresh, simple ingredients to create rich, complex flavors and makes creative variations on traditional cocktails. They have fourteen(!) draft beers that rotate seasonally, along with a pretty large selection of bottled beers. Their wine list is pretty good and pairs well with the food. It features domestic wines, as well as wines from Italy, France, Spain, and Argentina. They also recently added a few from New Zealand.

Burger dog and duck

But let’s get back to the burgers…

All of the dishes I’ve tried have been really tasty, but I can’t stay away from their burgers. A customer once confided in a loud whisper that he suspects that The Dog and Duck burgers may contain some addictive substance. I am inclined to agree with him. They’re juicy and cooked to perfection, and I also strongly suggest that you have them with the crispy hand-cut fries.

There are three burgers from which to choose:

  1. Cheddar-Bacon Burger (pictured)
  2. Duck and Duck Burger with caramelized onion and fois gras
  3. Bison “Monte Christo” Burger with ham and gruyère

What keeps me coming back…

It’s not just the burgers that keep me coming back, though. It’s the people. The moment you walk through the door, the staff will greet you with smiles, and your seating and food preferences will be accommodated.

And here’s something that’s really important in a neighborhood pub: they’re welcoming no matter what, but come back two or three times and you’ll be a regular. This is the place that I mentioned in an earlier post Thinking About My Diverse Community – New York City – A Bunch of Small Towns, in which the manager Patrick introduced himself. He knows the names of many of his regular customers and our interests. Regardless of how busy he is, he always makes time for you (like today when I stopped by to ask a few questions for this post). You’re probably thinking That’s what managers/bartenders are supposed to do. Exactly.

Andy and Alan, too, introduced themselves and make time to chat about the food, the weather, or whatever. The rest of the staff—Hector, Shannon, Matt, Audrey, Christian, et al—are experts at making you feel at home. And finally, the co-owners are usually around and will likely give you a warm grin as you enter and a thank you as you leave. Think community.

Guinness PintThe clientele isn’t bad either. You can expect friendly conversation if you sit at the bar—it’s a pub, people. However, if you want to be left alone, that’s okay too. I don’t recommend it, though. You’ll meet some pretty interesting people from all walks of life, and they will likely make you laugh. As a rule, I don’t go to bars by myself (I’m a lady!), but I feel very comfortable here.

Sunnyside is delightfully peppered with numerous restaurants serving delicious, authentic food, and I gladly sing the praises of many of them. I highly recommend that you make yourself a regular at least one of them, especially The Dog and Duck. Just leave some space for me, please. I might need a burger.

 

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