Strolling the farmers market, I noticed The Mucky Duck was back in business. The guys behind Tadich’s in San Francisco took on a noble effort to transform what was arguably one of the shadiest spots in town into a proper pub.
It was Fat Tuesday — a monthly fete with $3 Fat Tires and $15 all-you-can-eat Cajun the first Tuesday of the month — which no doubt brought out a colorful crowd.
The menu offered a mix of classic pub fare and a good selection of seafood.
I started with the onion marmalade ($6.95 for five pieces). It was less “marmalade” and more bruschetta — the onion was already on top of the bread, along with some goat cheese.
The combination fell flat: the onions should have been caramelized longer; there was too little cheese; the bread should have been toasted into crostini.
I ordered one of the chef’s specials: jerk-spiced chicken, served with fries and pear coleslaw ($11.95). The chicken was moist and juicy, with a generous spice rub. As much as I dislike eating meat off the bone — I’m not a caveman, after all — this was actually pretty good.
The spice rub was heavy on cinnamon and could have used a little more balance, but I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked this dish.
The pear coleslaw was interesting. It was a standard coleslaw with carrots and cabbage, but with some pear thrown in for good measure.
The pear flavor dominated — but that wasn’t really a bad thing. It was a bit of a mind trip to eat something that tasted like biting into a pear, but was demonstrably not pear-y in texture.
The fries, however, were unnecessary. Sure, a starch was a nice touch, but why not potato salad, rice and beans, or sweet potato fries? Steak fries killed the tropical buzz.
The Duck has retained its, um, quirky, nature. The lights may be brighter, but it’s still a bit of a dive inside. At least the food has taken an interesting turn, and I’m curious to see what’s yet to come — especially with their seafood fare — when the “temporary” menu becomes more permanent.