If it quacks, you can probably order it at Dha Rae Oak, a Korean restaurant from Chef Chung Mi Rae and husband Kim Gil Rae that has a sprawling menu, but ostensibly specializes in duck. The family-run spot where Dha (everyone) Rae (gathers) in the Oak (house) is well known for a whole bird baked in a clay oven that requires four hours notice and comes bursting with glutinous purple five-grain rice, ginkgo nuts, assorted seeds, sweet potato, chestnuts and walnuts. Their charcoal-grilled duck skewers, which require sitting at special tables, are also pretty damn good when dipped in salt and pepper or soy sauce with spicy mustard. On my latest trip to the restaurant, I discovered the wonders of Smoked Duck ($65).
A heaping helping of rosy, fat-rimmed breast meat arrives sliced with spicy slaw, slabs of grill-ready sweet potato, and pickled daikon that practically begs to be used to wrap the duck. The meat’s already smoked and ready to eat, but it’s best to finish the slices on convex tabletop grills, which add tantalizing sears. Each order, which is good for 3-4 people, comes with a dish of sea salt and pepper and a dish of savory “spicy sauce” piled with a mound of mashed garlic and ginger.