162 W. Montauk Highway
Hampton Bays, NY 11946
Few fare encapsulates classic Long Island cuisine quite like the quacker. Though the duck farms historically dotting the East End are now all but gone, sources fresh from the last and largest local provider, Aquebogue's Crescent Duck Farm, preparing each plate with their trademark recipe developed some three decades ago by chef/co-owner Charles Pensa. From its carefully crisped skin to the almost bread puddlinglike stuffing, several swear "Duck Villa Paul" isn't just the best in the Hamptons, but possibly anywhere—an entree on the same culinary par as [but a welcome departure from] the avant-garde dishes of the Hamptons' finest trend-noveau Manhattan export eateries.
Roast Long Island duckling over apple-raisin stuffing, glazed in secret-recipe black cherry sauce.
Eat This Because:
1) It may be the best duck you'll ever have.
2) The fruity gravy it comes coated in, complete with crushed whole black cherries, brings a zesty flavor change from the typical mandarin sauce most of us are used to, complementing the crisped duck skin with savor too incredible to describe with words.
3) The apple-raisin stuffing, thick in flavor yet fluffy in consistency, is an attraction in itself (and the perfect pregame for the restaurant's banana bread pudding—save room!)
4) It's a lasting vestige of old school Long Island hospitality, a time-tested favorite still as good as when our parents and grandparents ate it and destined to become only better with age as its traditional flavors become even rarer.
It's a menu staple at a restaurant that doesn't close for winter, meaning you can indulge year-round.
Editor's Note: Feel free to post your own view of Villa Paul by clicking here.