This place looks like it should be featured in a magazine. Hipster chefs with flat caps cooking in the back. Hipster servers in corduroy and plaid bringing out the food. A magnetic poetry board across the length of the wall, just for your pondering. Even the front porch seats are positioned for judging people-watching.
We arrived the morning after the wedding, all slightly hungover and ready to eat greasy things. Duckfat was chosen because it’s famous for its fries. But really, these fries weren’t all that greasy.
The Belgian fries (fried in duck fat, of course) are their staple. They are made with Maine potatoes and served in a paper cone with your choice of dipping sauce. Even the sauces were gourmet: aioli, Thai chili mayo, horseradish mayo, smoked mussel mayo, truffle ketchup and more.
Want to one-up that? Go for the poutine. It’s a big bowl of those duck fat fries topped with Pineland Farm cheese curd and house-made duck gravy. You can order the dish in large or small, and you should eat it with a fork and probably not order much else.
The rest of the menu is built like it’s a gourmet sandwich shop. There’s a selection of paninis, made with bread from Sorella’s Bakehouse. They go from ridiculous to simple: Everything from duck confit to PB&J.
There are also soups, salads, and charcuterie. Of course, most of the menu features duck in some way or another. And most of it was excellent and satisfying.
The desserts, however, can be skipped. We ordered the duckfat beignets, which weren’t actually beignets but rather duckfat fried doughnut holes topped with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or chocolate sauce. We didn’t get past the first one.
We also got the churros, which were too heavy on the cinnamon sugar and difficult to eat. The chocolate sauce on the side didn’t help at all—it was too tart.
But, the milkshakes. Oh, the milkshakes! They were amazing and available in all sorts of ingenious flavors that you would never think to be delicious in a shake. Like honey and cardamon. Or grapefruit and ginger. Or Tahitian vanilla bean crème anglaise and gelato. The shakes and sodas are made in house at Duckfat.
So go to Duckfat, if you’re in Portland. Snag a stool in front of the magnetic poetry board and create your masterpiece while sipping on one of their gourmet milkshakes and eating the poutine with a fork. It’s greasy gourmet food and a super trendy brunch.
43 Middle Street
Portland, ME 04101