115 E. 3rd St.
Davenport Iowa 52801United States
Duck City Bistro's upscale Midwestern fare with a French accent was nice but failed to wow us the way a fine restaurant should.
Rather than read a menu description of a dish, you need to see it to believe it at Duck City Bistro. When you walk into the cozy, brick restaurant -- a downtown Davenport destination for 20 years -- a glass case displaying the nights' features greets you. The case includes more than a dozen chic dishes dressed up with sauces and garnishes like they're going to a ball. Once seated, you can come back up for second and third looks, and you'll probably need to, as you waiver between the rack of lamb chops and the horseradish-encrusted salmon. There is a regular menu, but it's small, with maybe six dishes. Here, the features are the focus. Be ready to ask about the price though; they aren't listed. (Our server was happy to share the prices, but it left us feeling cheap.) Most entrees run about $30; sides and salads come a la carte. We started with the popular combo appetizer: crab cakes, marinated portobella mushrooms, and Thai chicken skewers with peanut sauce. Although the mushroom marinade was enjoyable, nothing wowed. The house special, the Duck City duck breast with duck confit ($28.50), was a mixed bag. The duck breast was nicely cooked and the framboise sauce was a nice, sweet complement, while the duck confit was way too salty. The smoked pork chop stuffed with ham and Swiss cheese ($28.50) was moist and savory. The flavors were unrefined, however, at times too rich. At a restaurant like this, we want each bite to be special and the flavors to be something we can't create at home. That just wasn't the case. Adding a touch of whimsy, the chef serves certain dishes with your name spelled out in the sauce. Butcher paper covers each table, and crayons sit waiting for you to make your masterpiece or maybe just draw a tree and flower while waiting for your food. It is a good idea to make a reservation, and when you do, you may want to request being seated in the main dining room: A sunroom addition doesn't quite have the same warm atmosphere, and plastic lawn tables add little to the dining experience.