A subterranean dining spot recently opened beneath RedFarm in the West Village. Step down into the wood-paneled lair and you’ll see where Decoy (529 ½ Hudson St., 212-691-9700, decoynyc.com) gets its name. Suspended over the communal table, depicted in paintings and illuminated in the windows are ducks in all shapes and sizes. But it wasn’t these particular mallards that lured me to Decoy: it was the promise of a full Peking duck dinner.
Pull up your chair to the communal table and begin with a series of homemade pickles, crunchy cauliflower, thin strips of asparagus and chunks of squash — all served in teacups. Then move on to a small plate or two (depending on your party size). Try the crisp and buttery Katz’s pastrami triangles, the hulking oxtail dumplings or the light shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings.
Then take a shot of duck consommé, a broth so rich that it should be sipped like the finest whiskey in the world. Then comes the Peking duck, with the meat cut in shingles, each topped with that divine crispy fat. Take out a pancake and begin building. There are three sauces and a heap of scallions to add a cold crunch.
It doesn’t stop here. Along with your prix-fixe dinner, you can also order an entrée, a side and fried rice for the table. The lobster with wide rice noodles comes smothered in a smooth black bean sauce, and the fried rice with crab and scallops tastes like it just came from the sea.
No matter how many extra dishes you order, I promise you’ll keep going back to the duck until every last morsel is gone. And no one will judge you for picking up the drumstick and peeling off the last bits of fat with your teeth. It’s a primal urge — and decoys are meant to be sacrificed.
Ariel Kanter is an editor at Gilt City.