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Peking Duck House

A couple of weeks ago, we headed down to the Peking Duck House for—well, you can probably guess.

The ways of this restaurant are a bit mysterious. When I called for a reservation, they claimed not to take them for parties fewer than six, but plenty of two-tops seemed to be waltzing right in (past the long line) to pre-reserved tables.

Our party of three waited at least half-an-hour to be seated at around 7:00 p.m. on a Friday evening. When we left, less than 90 minutes later, the walk-in line was even longer. As I noted in a previous review, this restaurant is geared to turning tables with military precision, though the food they serve, by its nature, takes a while to eat.

Most parties seemed to order the house special. For a fixed price of $36.50 per person, you get  a whole Peking duck (as long as you have at least three people) and some number of additional appetizers and entrées, depending on party size. The amount of food is obscene: even with four people, instead of three, I doubt we could have finished it.

After the appetizers (above), the duck (below) was presented tableside, then whisked away to be carved. There seems to be one chef who does nothing else.

After the superb duck, the entrées (above) seemed almost superfluous. It would probably be better if they were served separately, but as the restaurant wants to turn tables, they were served at the same time as the duck, which made for an awfully crowded table. A dessert of fresh sliced fruit (left) went barely touched.

If you can look past the factory atmosphere, the Peking Duck House remains an essential restaurant for its signature ingredient, which it prepares as well as anyone.

Peking Duck House (28 Mott Street between Pell and Mosco Streets, Chinatown)

Food: **
Service: *
Ambiance: *
Overall: *½

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