San Diego restaurant Kingfisher combines Vietnamese-French cuisine with a California flair: Local fried rockfish makes an appearance, as does grilled abalone (in a special with plum vinegar, fish sauce, and Thai chiles), and a fried San Diego rock cod that represents one of the most classic Vietnamese dishes on the menu, according to executive chef David Sim. (It’s served with rice noodles, pickled papaya, ginger, and cucumbers.)

But no dish represents the Kingfisher ethos better than its signature smoked and dry-aged duck, one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. “This was on the menu from day one,” Sim says, “but it kind of just grew.” When the duck hits the pan, Sim leaves the breast on the crown of the bird, which “develops a deeper, richer flavor” as it sears. “When we first opened, we were only allowed to do one duck at a time, just so everything was perfect,” Sim says. Now, Sim can comfortably sear six birds at a time; the birds are then smoked for about 30 minutes before being glazed with a palm sugar and getting flashed in the oven to toast up the skin.

To serve, the duck leg is confited while the rest is sliced, and it’s presented to the table with an XO sauce, rice noodles, nouc mam chimichurri, and lettuce for wrapping. “Now we have what wasn’t originally a Vietnamese dish, but it eats super ‘Vietnamese’ with the lettuce, the herbs, and all the sauces,” Sim says.

“In Vietnam, duck is a very popular ingredient,” says co-owner Ky Tran Phan. Watch the full episode of The Experts to learn how Kingfisher’s Vietnamese-Chinese take on it comes to life, and how the day’s catch from just down the road ends up on the nightly menu.

2024-06-12T17:19:16Z dg43tfdfdgfd