Best Place to Eat Duck - 2000
La Villa Poppi
So much promise, so much disappointment. Duck can be such a moist, juicy, crispy, smoky, wonderfully fragrant experience, but it all too frequently ends up on the platter heavy and overdone, with all the pleasure cooked out of it. Not at La Villa Poppi, however, where owner/chef Greg Sweeting, a veteran of many an Italian kitchen, has been known to feature the fowl on his oft-changing menu with spectacular results. "The duck is the way we did it in the restaurant in Tuscany," he told SF Weekly last fall. "It's seasoned with onion and garlic and fennel and roasted whole. It's actually a bastardization of that and another dish, a whole roast duckling that's cooked with vermouth. I use Vinsanto from Tuscany instead. And I like a little sweetness here and there, so I sprinkle it with honey at the end." The light-textured, deeply flavored outcome is definitely worth waiting for.