Jeff Smith 12:30 p.m., April 23
Duck Dive and the duck fries
Fries so good they make strangers friendly at a Pacific Beach bar.
I’m sure I saw an advertisement for Duck Dive somewhere, in a circular or someplace like that. “Home of the duck fat fries!” it said. There was no question I’d be getting some of those sooner or later. That time has come.
As PB scene bars go, Duck Dive looks pretty good. The owners threw a lot of money into the design and it’s not at all divey. There are plenty of good beers on tap for hop sniffing hipsters like me (disdainful of Bud and Jaeger bombs) who creep down from North Park for the evening. I guess that it can get insane in there on big nights. Like, three deep at the bar and shoulder to shoulder elsewheres with the music so loud you can’t think. Off-peak hours, however, it looks like a good place to grab a bit and a brew. With a full menu, there’s plenty of grub to soak up the booze.
I had to get some duck fat fries ($7). I haven’t had any in a long time, but few things exceed the awesome factor of potatoes fried in duck fat. Duck dive uses a shoestring cut for the fries. They were so skinny that I ended up using three or four of them to scoop up the garlicky aioli, tomato aioli, and Worcestershire laced ketchup. Duck-tastic. That’s the only word. They were so good that Rachel, my neighbor at the bar whom I’d never met before, ended up eating off the plate and loving them. Fries so good they make strangers friendly!
I also tried a roasted chicken. Well, half of one for $14, anyways. Someone had dried it out too much in the oven and the side of steamed vegetable julienne didn’t inspire me to poetry, so it was a weak following to the fries. Still, It was a massive demi-bird and I didn’t stand a chance of finishing it, so at least I can look forward to chicken salad.
Better was a cuban sandwich ($14), which was stuffed with pork belly, tenderloin, pickles, onions, and a rich, mustard sauce.
Since they have a kids’ menu, I don’t think Duck Dive is 21+ all the time. That, combined with the fact that it opens around lunch every day, give it some versatility as a cool combination of beach party scene and worthwhile eats.
4650 Mission Boulevard
Open daily at 11