A St. Louis Culinary Claim to Fame – The Shaved Duck
ST. LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.News) – The Shaved Duck – In a city that’s developed a national reputation for barbecue, it’s not surprising to find quirky little restaurants offering smoked dishes uniquely their own. One such local favorite is the Shaved Duck, 2900 Virginia Avenue in South St. Louis. This little storefront barbecue joint in the Tower Grove East neighborhood is one of the distinctive establishments that has helped to put and keep St. Louis on the national culinary map.
The restaurant has garnered national acclaim for its mastery of barbecue classics. Last year it was named in food critic Johnny Fuggit’s book, 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America (Renew Press, 2015). Fuggit placed the Shaved Duck at #19 overall, and #1 when it came to burnt ends. If you’ve never had them, burnt ends are a delicacy from the Kansas City school of barbecue. They’re cut from the point half of a brisket and slow smoked for hours. The Shaved Duck’s burnt ends are tossed in their Black Isle BBQ sauce. They take all day to make, and as such they’re only available after 5 p.m.
Another after 5 p.m. only specialty is the Duck’s Walnut and Brown Sugar Bacon. This appetizer is made with bacon cured in house, and served with pears & bleu cheese. It is expertly conceived and prepared, and just fabulous in its simplicity. But the app that perhaps gets the biggest raves from customers is the smothered fries. These are a large plate of crispy, hand cut fries topped with creamy cheese sauce, pulled rib and pork meat, and freshly grated sharp cheddar. They are generously portioned, so terrific to share among your party.
The Duck, like other classic St. Louis restaurants, has also been featured on Food Network. In 2012, Guy Fieri included it in a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode called “Food Done Right.” And that’s an apt title for the menu at the Shaved Duck. The dishes featured on the show are classic Shaved Duck originals: those amazing smothered fries and their signature slow-smoked duck with cherry juniper jam.
Another local favorite is the meatloaf. Theirs is smoked and served with a root beer glaze. It’s another clue to the real secret behind everything they make at the Shaved Duck: they aren’t married to just one barbecue technique. They run the gamut from marinated and dry rubbed to sweet and sticky glazed, and sugar cured-everything is done with care, by hand, and then slow smoked in hickory pits built in Sainte Genevieve over a fire of locally sourced wild cherry and hickory logs. The result is American rustic barbecue that customers crave.
Some restaurants have one or two dishes that keep customers coming back for more. But you know a place is special when the customers rave about every part of the menu, appetizers, entrees and even the side dishes. The folks at the Shaved Duck offer a short list of sides that go especially well with barbecue. Their Mac n’ cheese and sautéed Brussels sprouts are well loved by customers. So whether you get those, the baked beans, the slaw, or the caramelized onion mashed potatoes, your side will compliment the deliciously smoked, tender meat on your plate.
They start the fire in the pits at the crack of dawn, so they can be ready for hungry diners by lunchtime. The Shaved Duck is open Mondays 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. They’re closed Sunday. They offer take out too, but not on Friday and Saturday nights, which are their busiest hours.
At the Shaved Duck, they’re advocates of America’s thriving artisan beer scene. Their enthusiasm means you can wash that dinner down with a craft beer or hard cider from local artisan brewers and others across the nation. It’s fitting that a distinctive little barbecue joint that helped put this city on the national culinary map is also serving the hometown brews that are turning St. Louis into a prominent beer destination. It’s just one more pin in the map for the Shaved Duck.