Jonathan M., Dartmouth College
Balthazar—a popular restaurant in SoHo that elicits the attention of many connoisseurs and celebrities—offers an intimate setting in which guests interact with one another, whether they’re sitting with each other or next to each other (and eavesdropping on some really interesting conversations). Of the multitude of delicacies that this restaurant presents to its guests, I have picked one that is truly sinfully delicious to share with you:
Seared to a golden brown color, the duck confit, lying on a bed of baked, crispy potato thins mixed with slices of wild mushroom and surrounded fresh frisée greens, emanated an aroma so enticing that I was ready to devour this delicacy before the waiter finished wishing me and my companions “bon appétit.” Just as I was about to violently dismantle the confit, it offered its first pleasant surprise even though I had yet a taste of it—the confit was so tender that it required not a knife but a mere fork to slide the flesh off the bones effortlessly.
As I sank my teeth into the confit, the golden brown skin crumbled delicately, producing the sound of genuine crispness that was like a majestic symphony to my ears. As I broke the final barrier between me and the duck meat for which I yearned dearly, the confit proved wonderful; its flavor was rich and hearty, leaving me a feeling so warm that I was already longing for the next bite before I even finished the piece in my mouth. The frisée greens proved to be a thoughtful addition to this dish; because its freshness counterbalanced the rich flavor of the confit, my palate was never overwhelmed. Moreover, because the confit’s texture was so moist and tender, it provided a striking contrast with the crispy and delicate skin.
After I finished the confit, I thought my delightful meal had ended, but I was so wrong—the humble bed of crispy potato thins and wild mushroom that shyly hid under the confit had much to offer. The potato thins absorbed all the flavorful drippings and grease from the duck and the liquid from the wild mushroom, transforming the mundane baked chip into something extraordinary that ended this dish on a truly sinfully delicious note.