With Dungeness crab dishes proliferating across Bay Area menus this month, I want to call attention to one in particular at the newly open The Morris, where chef Gavin Schmidt (Coi) is also doing a shareable smoked duck that owner Paul Einbund hopes will become the Zuni chicken of Potrero Flats.

The restaurant is located in the former Slow Club space, and Einbund has added a glassed-in red wine cellar at the front entrance to house just a portion of the cache of wine he's collected over several years in anticipation of this project. Einbund's enthusiasm for the drinks list is infectious, with a collection of vintage Chartreuse to cap it off, and a small selection of house cocktails that he continues to tweak, including a Chartreuse slushy, and, for colder nights, a bourbon- and Calvados-based hot toddy.

Among the current starter courses is an excellent, lemongrass-infused crab porridge (pictured below beside an excellent dish of Thai-seasoned pole beans with squid), redolent of citrus and flecked with pulled crab, and garnished with shaved carrot and tempura-fried crab legs. It's a simple and warming dish to comfort you this crab season, with layered flavors that transport you to Thailand and Vietnam.

The star of the show and likely to be seen on many tables in the room on any given evening is the smoked and roasted whole Muscovy duck that serves at least four — available also as a half portion, for two — which comes with roasted fingerling potatoes, carrots, romanesco, and Brussels sprouts. As Eater earlier noted, "it’s brined for 24 hours with thyme and garlic, then air dried in the walk-in for four days, smoked at 165 degrees for two hours, and roasted in a convection oven until golden brown." It can be topped with an espresso-tinged jus served on the side, but it almost doesn't need it, this being the juiciest, most flavorful and least fatty duck I think I've ever eaten, with perfectly crisp skin.

I say this as not the hugest duck fan in general — I almost ordered something else, and that would have been a shame, because this made me remember how great duck can be, especially when smoked, when the fat layer reduces to hardly anything at all.

Also, with all the vegetables and potatoes it comes with, it is a meal unto itself. So despite the price tag ($48 for a half portion, $96 for a whole), you could conceivably order just that for the table along with a couple snacks to start, and be plenty full. Zuni's chicken for two, a similar size dish to the half duck, costs $58 now and only comes with salad greens and croutons, so this is a deal by comparison.


Related: Exciting Fall Opener, The Morris, Arriving Soon In Former Slow Club Space

For budgetary reasons, SFist editors and contributors occasionally accept complimentary meals from restaurants and their publicists. More often, we pay out of pocket for our meals. While we refrain from writing formal reviews, we make every effort when giving opinions about restaurants to be objective, and to focus more on food and ambiance than service in order to make up for any possible bias.

The crab porridge, at bottom, with tempura crab and greens on the side. At top, blistered pole beans with crab. Photo: Jay Barmann/SFist