Downey’s Duck (Food of the Week)

Duck Santa Barbara

At Downey’s, a seasonal Santa Barbara institution that dates to 1982, chef John Downey and wife/front of house partner Liz present seasonal dishes with local ingredients in a classy setting near The Arlington Theatre. Liz Downey’s paintings of the city line the dining room’s walls, white cloths and flowers in white ceramic vases grace tables, and opera music fills the air. Downey’s prints their dinner menu daily, and they also feature a four-course tasting menu for $58, but I opted for a la carte, including one signature dish: Mary’s Farm Duck.

Mary’s Farm Duck ($40) stars humanely raised duck raised at Pitman Family Farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Downey’s prepares these free-range, boldly flavored birds in three ways. Grilled breast meat is presented in a rosy, fat-rimmed fan with Cabernet sauce. A confit leg sports crispy skin while preserving tender meat. I also thoroughly enjoyed a portion of what’s basically cassoulet, with bits of duck, duck jus, heritage Shackamaxon beans, tomatoes, and caramelized onions, all showered with breadcrumbs for textural contrast.

Address: 1305 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Downey’s Duck (Food of the Week)

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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