Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
55: Duck Fried Rice at Jar.
Walk through the heavy wooden doors at Jar, Suzanne Tracht's 11-year-old West Hollywood chophouse, and you'll probably feel like ordering a steak. And a few martinis. It's that kind of place: a gloriously atavistic restaurant, with white tablecloths under low light, an iceberg lettuce wedge on the menu, and a maître d' wearing a suit rather than a canvas of tattoos. But if 16 ounces of dry-aged steak is too much on a hot summer evening, order the duck fried rice instead.
If finding a terrific bowl of fried rice on a steakhouse menu surprises you, you haven't been to Jar enough. Thailand native Preech Narkthong has been Jar's chef de cuisine since the place opened — the pair also cooked together at Tracht's previous restaurant Jozu — and he's been putting his touch on the menu ever since. Thus you can order water spinach with your bistro steak, or lemongrass chicken instead of it. But the duck fried rice is in a league of its own, the ideal marriage of both chefs' traditions.
The kitchen makes the duck confit for the fried rice, rather than the other way around, then the vegetables — shiitakes and julienned carrots, pea sprouts and leeks — are sautéed in the duck fat. Stir in a generous portion of Japanese brown rice and top the dish with a chiffonade of green onions, then serve — with or without that char siu Berkshire pork chop. With or without that martini. And if you have leftovers (right), Tracht says that they're pretty fantastic reheated for breakfast, with an egg on top.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.