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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

#5: The Applewood-Smoked Duck Breast at Sidney Street Café

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 3:00 PM

The applewood-smoked duck at Sidney Street Café - IAN FROEB
  • Ian Froeb
  • The applewood-smoked duck at Sidney Street Café
Sidney Street Café owner and executive chef Kevin Nashan was a semifinalist in the "Best Chef: Midwest" category of this year's James Beard Awards. About damn time. Nashan -- the reigning Riverfront Times "Best Local Chef" -- is as deserving of national notice as any St. Louis chef. His passion for food and those who grow, raise and prepare it shines through during even the briefest conversation with him -- and is made manifest at the restaurant that he has run for the better part of a decade, a place where a seat at the bar for a meal by yourself (as a certain restaurant critic might have done recently) can become a special occasion.

More so than at the other restaurants for which I've said this, I could claim any one of several different dishes on Sidney Street's menu as a favorite. For whatever reason -- honestly, I can't put a finger on why, exactly -- I always come back to the applewood-smoked duck.

The flavor is intensely smoky. Most barbecue doesn't achieve this level of smokiness. Yet even through this cloud of smoke the distinctive flavor of blush-red, medium-rare duck meat and the luscious texture of rendered duck fat come through.

Not enough duck for you? The duck breast sits atop a sweet-potato latke studded with duck confit. The latke, in turn, sits atop a small amount of charred rapini, its bitterness providing a welcome contrast to what could have been an overwhelmingly rich dish. From construction to preparation to the beautiful composition of the plate, it's simply a flat-out fantastic dish.

Sidney Street Café
2000 Sidney Street
314-771-5777
$27

I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.

Previously:

#6: Beef tenderloin with foie gras and a port wine demi-glace at Tony's
#7: Dry-aged steak at Prime 1000
#8: Tajadas con queso at Fritanga
#9: Kumamoto oysters at DeMun Oyster Bar
#10: Tacos al pastor at La Vallesana

#11: The Heath Bar concrete at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
#12: Beef tongue at Café Natasha's Kabob International
#13: The root beer braised short rib at Monarch
#14: The egg raviolo at Acero
#15: Pappardelle at the Tavern Kitchen + Bar
#16: Carnitas at La Tejana Taqueria
#17: Benne's Farm half chicken at Five Bistro
#18: Dátiles rellenos at Modesto
#19: Hot-and-sour noodles at Joy Luck Buffet
#20: Lamb vindaloo at India Palace

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