Lunch in Portland, ME – Duckfat
Despite arriving at 1 pm, past what we thought would be the lunch rush, we still had to wait about 20 minutes for a table at this small, intimate communal cafe. During our wait, the hostess and servers were attentive and brought us drinks while we waited. The mint and lime soda was refreshing on a hot day. As was the locally-brewed Marshall Warf Tug pale ale.
Once seated at the bar, we decided to try as many things as possible. First we ordered the house-made charchuterie plate, with each of three options: Mexican-spice salami (daily special), duck rillettes and pork, apple and bacon terrine. The pickled fennel, red onions and cucumbers were amazing, as was the mustard accompaniment.
The third appetizer was a large order of their famous hand-cut Belgian fries. We ordered the truffle ketchup, which in and of itself was amazing, and perfectly complimented the hand cut potatoes fried in duck fat and canola oil.
We also ordered the poutine as another appetizer, their famous fries covered in house-made duck gravy and cheese curd.
The final appetizer amongst the group was a chilled borscht, with creme fraiche and ginger. I have never had a soup like this before, but became an instant fan. The creaminess of the soup was really nice without being too rich (although we were glad we shard a cup instead of a larger bowl). The ginger was subtle yet delicious.
Since there was four of us to split all of the appetizers, we still had room for lunch. In order to feel better about about all of the fries I had already consumed, I ordered the salad special of the day: mixed greens, poached pears, pecans, Danish bleu cheese, dried cranberries and tarragon vinaigrette. While I wished the tarragon had been a stronger flavor in the vinaigrette, the salad was delicious and one that I will try to recreate at home.
The Duck Fat menu is dominated with paninis, and we highly recommend the Spicy Italian: salami, capicola, hot pepper relish, pesto aioli and provolone. The crust was crispy, as a panini should be, with melted ingredients between the bread that come together very nicely.
We also ordered a second panini amongst the group, which was the daily special Roasted Mushroom panini with carmelized onions, French feta, roasted fennel greens and sundried-tomato aioli.
Duckfat is a perfect lunch spot, and suited for a very casual dinner. Due to the lunch crowd, the four of us sat across their small bar/counter, which is always a little difficult with more than 2 people, but due to the limited space, large lunch crowd and hungry stomachs, we were happy to get seats at this fabulous, must-try Portland cafe.
Don’t miss related post: Breakfast in Portland, ME – Bintliff’s