Duckfat, a Portland restaurant whose signature dish is Belgian fries made from Maine-grown potatoes fried in duck fat, has been on my radar for some time, but it wasn’t until my most recent visit that I finally tried it. We arrived at Duckfat shortly after noon. There were a few parties waiting outside, but luckily they were able to seat the two of us immediately at one of the counters.
Once inside, there were just two decisions to be made: small or large cone of fries, and what kind of dipping sauce. Dave requested a large cone. As for dipping sauce, we considered the truffle ketchup and the horseradish mayo. We went with our server’s recommendation of the housemade truffle ketchup.
The fries were golden yellow, some a crispier golden brown, piping hot and salty. The crunchy fried outside gives way to a sliver of warm potato inside. There’s no distinct taste from the duck, at least not that I could detect. The truffle ketchup was sweet and tangy, with a rich and earthy truffle flavor. As a big fan of ketchup, I worried that the small jar would not be sufficient for the cone. The fries were so good on their own, though, I ended up eating many of them without, but the ketchup was certainly a welcome addition.
Another specialty of Duckfat’s? Milkshakes. In my opinion, fries and milkshakes are a match made in heaven. I have even been known to dip my fries in my milkshake. We chose chocolate, but next time we may have to spring for the Duckfat Original Milkshake, made with Tahitian vanilla bean crème anglaise. The milkshakes are made with gelato from The Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick, ME. The milkshake had a bold and rich chocolate flavor. There were pockets of gelato throughout that did not get fully blended, which made for fabulous textural variation. Duckfat gets extra points for giving you the leftover milkshake that did not fit in the glass in the blender cup as well.
In addition to fries and milkshakes, Duckfat has a selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches. Some of them sounded lovely, but there are so many other places in Portland to get salads and sandwiches. Duckfat is the only place I know of, in Portland or elsewhere, that makes a mean duckfat-fried Belgian fry in addition to milkshakes, so I’ll stick to those when coming here. Then again, if this meal hadn’t been preceded by donuts, we might have had room for a salad too. Next time.