Budget Crunch: The Golden Duck
This month, Budget Crunch takes a slightly different approach to recommending a wallet-friendly dining experience. Rather than reviewing a restaurant that offers a variety of items at a reasonable price, we’re going to talk about how to get one dish—authentic Peking duck—on a budget at the Golden Duck restaurant in Williamsville.
I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy this delicacy at some of Beijing’s most famous duck restaurants (including both Quanjude and Bianyifang), so I was delighted to discover that a decent Peking duck experience can be found in the Buffalo area. At Golden Duck, your order will set you back $35, and the menu recommends that guests order it as a dish for two, or as an appetizer for three to eight people. In my opinion, however, you can order the duck and one or two side dishes (we went with stir-fried Chinese broccoli with garlic for $8.95 on our most recent visit) and have ample food to feed four fairly hungry people. So grab three adventurous eaters and head to Maple Road.
Once at the restaurant, expect to wait thirty minutes or so for your duck to arrive. The experience here is respectful of the traditional treatment of this dish. Your table will first receive a tasty platter made up of the most choice cuts, including the legs and breast meat. (Peking duck is characterized by its crispy skin and moist meat.) You can enjoy this dish, served with folded steamed buns and hoisin sauce, while your server returns the remaining duck to the kitchen. In a few minutes, a heaping plate of moo shu duck arrives, sautéed in a sweet bean sauce and served with wafer thin flour wrappers on the side. The third and final dish your table will experience is a vegetable duck soup. Although it may feel a bit out of order to sip on soup as a final dish, it’s actually a light and refreshing way to end your meal.
There are other good (perhaps better) dishes at this restaurant; its location in a strip mall behind a Mobil station is unremarkable; the ambiance is unassuming and rather spartan; and the service is average. What is remarkable, however, is the very tasty and authentic Peking duck, which is an enjoyable and satisfying meal for four people for under $40. If you like culinary adventures on a budget, this is certainly one spread you won’t want to miss.
The Golden Duck
1840 Maple Road
Rachel Fix Dominguez is a proud Buffalo native who loves exploring WNY’s culinary options.