Several years ago a friend invited me to dinner and asked if I liked duck. My silence on the line quickly revealed my unfamiliarity with the then-foreign foul. But, she took a chance and kept duck in our dinner plans – and I am so glad she did. Ever since that time, duck on the menu meant duck on my plate. So, it is no surprise that I jumped at the chance to attend last Thursday’s duck dinner at the Grange restaurant in downtown Sacramento.
It was a special night at the Grange – although, having now experienced it, I believe every night may be a special night there. The setting is lovely and the service was the proverbial “over the top.” But, let’s talk about the real star of the show: the duck.
The custom menu was a collaboration between Grange Executive Chef Michael Tuohy and local “Hunter Angler Gardner Cook,” Hank Shaw. Earlier that afternoon, they challenged each other with a friendly, “duck off” cooking competition followed by the five-course duck-themed dinner in the evening. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner went to the California Waterfowl Association.
The meal started with a duck charcuterie plate, featuring duck prosciutto and rillette, followed by fresh, local greens with duck confit, a house-made tagliatelle, duck cassoulet, and a pear tart with a crust made with duck fat.
After each course, the only thing left of my plate was the pattern. While every bite was amazing, let me dwell a bit on the tagliatelle with duck sugo. It was like my mom’s home-made beef and noodles…but, not at all, really. It evoked that same comforting, can’t-get-enough taste, but with a deep flavor and freshness, that was second to none. I hope it – or a version of it – is a permanent addition to the Grange menu, because I’m quite sure it will be at the top of my “new things to crave” list.
It was truly a memorable meal with amazing food, fine company, and a special remembrance of a fine foodie friend who shared the spirit of culinary adventure so many years ago. No doubt about it; the whole experience made me feel like one lucky duck.
926 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95814