The Duck Inn is chef Kevin Hickey's excellent "homage to [Bridgeport] and its history," writes Phil Vettel. "Beautiful" spot prawns over risotto with uni butter is a worthy starter, as is a poached duck egg over baby kale with shaved grana padano cheese and breadcrumbs. Unsurprisingly, the duck is the star of the show and is one "for the ages; the breast meat is a perfect medium rare" while the leg and thigh "boast crispy, almost blackened skins."
Other impressive entrees include a "very good" slow-cooked, mustard glazed pork shoulder with celery-root puree and an "ideal winter dish" of truffled short ribs with whipped potatoes and pomegranate sauce. Save room for the sticky toffee pudding that's "every bit as gooey and rich as you'd expect" and "inventive" ice cream flavors like parsnip and a "dazzling" beet and blood orange sorbet. [Tribune]
Lisa Shames heartily enjoys RPM Steak, which she calls an "upgraded version" of the traditional steakhouse. There's an "attention to detail and even a subtlety" to dishes like the steak tartare, roughly chopped to emphasize the "terrific grass-fed flavor of the meat." Octopus also gets an upgrade with small potato slices, a dusting of chives and a jalapeno-infused cream sauce that gives it a "gentle heat," while scallops paired with fried capers and cauliflower dressed in a preserved-lemon vinaigrette are a nice surprise. Fine steaks can be had on a budget as the short-rib cut is brushed with a shallot and bone marrow butter that adds a "funky meatiness to each bite." For dessert, a "rich" and decadent 14K chocolate layer cake is topped with flakes of edible gold. [CS]
The Drifter is a "comfortable, low-key spot to hang out, and the cocktails are similarly approachable." Amy Cavanaugh checks out the new speakeasy, where the drinks are "slightly challenging but mostly just really good." There's a "smooth" South American Mistress, a blend of pisco, vermouth and Fernet; the Red Rum, a "creamy, bright mix" of rum, port, lemon, grenadine and egg white; and the Mizz McFlurry, an "elevated Shamrock Shake." Although the drink list changes daily, Cavanaugh thinks guests won't have a hard time picking something they like as the selections offer "plenty of gems." [TOC]