I had the pleasure of spending my 3rd Wedding Anniversary at The Ugly Duckling, unconventional, yes, but a pleasure seldom experienced with two infants at home.
The Duck is located downtown Swanton, not an area bustling with nightlife, so parking is ample, and pretty accessible in short distance. Walking into the Duck, you may feel as if you stumbled in a frat house of sorts, but upon further studying of the decor (Humorous Posters, Mounted Deer Head, Random photos and knick knacks)…you see it’s much more clever and witty than the normal cookie cutter Friday’s overly trite and in your face messiness. The Duck is warm, inviting and welcoming, and while we were there, the owner made a point to visit each table. And I do mean visit, not just walk by and ask how your food was, but sit down and talk to you for 20minutes, and that’s a sincere gesture you just don’t see much anymore.
The menu is entertainment in itself, and if you have a second, I definitely recommend reading it all over. Between the comical stories and pictures, the menu offers a little more than the average sport’s bar. When it comes to the naming of dishes, no pun has been left behind, from the “Chillin like Bob Dylan” Dog to “Kevin’s Bacon” Chicken Chunkers. And the menu is priced to please as well, ranging from $3.99 to $9.99.
We started with drinks, and I was pleased to find many imports and “indie” beers on tap, which is again, a nod to the Duck’s striving uniqueness and wild child persona. I opted for a tall Blue Moon, and though it’s hard to mess up beer, it arrive cold frothy and delicious:)
It was quite hard to decide on an order, as the menu is quite appetizing, and with all the interesting names, I was dying to try one of each! I decided on the ‘Shroom Chunkers with Hazard sauce ($6.99) and an order of steak fries ($1.99). My meal companions both opted for the Jamican Jerk Burger, which they were told was only cooked well done (?), and that came with steak fries ($6.99) and also an order of Captain Pepper Jacks (fried pepper jack cheese bites $3.99). Our waitress was nice enough, but she committed one of my biggest pet peeves…not writing down my order. It’s not a judgment of her intellect or memory, I just generally hate when serves do this, as I feel like I am giving an order to a drive through window box at a fast food restaurant, with just a blank stare as I bark my order at them. So, in my head, I was already rehearsing what I was going to say to her when she forgot something or messed something up.
The wait for our food was not long, but it was easily spent examining the goofy wall trimmings, or enjoying the game on the huge flat screen.
And, much to my surprise our orders were dead on…but I STILL hate when they don’t write it down!
With an added side of ranch, my chicken chunkers were dipped in Hazard (level two on the Duck’s heat scale) and covered in yummy mushrooms and melted cheese. They were delicious, with the right amount of spice to them. My only complaint would be they were very heavily breaded, but it’s a personal preference thing, and I just prefer mine a little on the lighter side. The chicken was perfectly prepared and still very juicy, and the mushrooms tasted fresh. My fries were also good, thick like I like them (that’s what she said) and I got a huge basket of them…definitely something you could get to share! My table mates both let out orgasmic moans over their Jamaican Jerk burgers, and after stealing a bite, I can easily see why. the Carribean sauce was TO DIE FOR! Tangy and delicious, and I can’t even put my finger on what the unique flavor is.
By this time, Jon, the proud owner, arrived table side, and asked how our food was. Upon hearing it was our anniversary, he promised free fried ice cream, and I never turn down free dessert:) He informed us he picked up his amazing jerk sauce recipe when he vacationed there months before, and it was nice to hear when ANYONE decides to think outside the “can.”
I am sad to say, by the time we were done moaning down each bite of our meals, our pepper jack bites were cold, but the boys had no trouble eating them either, and they both said they were good, with the right amount of spice.
As promised, our fried ice cream arrived, without us having to say a word to our waitress, which made it really felt heartfelt. There is nothing like having to explaining to a clueless waitress that you were promised free food from a now MIA manager, so I was QUITE impressed with Jon after this!
The ice cream was good, covered in the traditional crispy, syrupy, sweet coating you find on most fried ice cream, and it was a welcome chaser to the spicy food we had just eaten.
My experience at The Ugly Duckling was pleasing, and I plan to return regularly. It has definitely found it’s niche as the neighborhood gathering place, and I saw ads hanging for Karaoke nights and Guitar Hero 3 tournaments (how fun!).
Food 4 out of 5 chunkers
Personality 5 out of 5 chunkers