The Duck Club Sustains the Best of Land and Sea

The Duck Club
Duck Club Crab Benedict

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The Duck Club Sustains the Best of Land and Sea

You can get duck at The Duck Club Restaurant in Bodega Bay, and it's excellent, seared and served in various seasonal presentations such as atop roasted root vegetables, quinoa and almond Brussels sprouts salad with pomegranate glaze.

But you can also indulge in Dungeness crab, salmon, and all the goodness that comes from the ocean that glitters at the edge of this upscale restaurant inside the Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa.

Exactly how you get it, however, will be open to the whims of the chef, who puts his personal spin on the menu each day, for innovative specials but also for what's best from local organic family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and artisan cheese makers. Add in the spectacular waterfront view, and it's no surprise that reservations are strongly recommended.

The adventure begins at breakfast, when choices include smoked salmon Benedict or Bodega Bay Dungeness crab Benedict (either is great paired with a Chipotle Bloody Mary/Maria sparked with fresh lemon and lime juice, buffalo chipotle sauce, Sriracha and fresh horseradish).

The restaurant closes for lunch, but then starts up again in the evening for appetizers like crab ravioli in mushroom consommé, crab cakes slathered in tomato-ginger chutney, and spot-on oysters Rockefeller dressed in a brilliant coat of spinach, green onions, apple-wood smoked bacon, bread crumbs, Italian parsley, cayenne and Pernod.

It's back to the ocean for entrees, bringing hallmarks such as Dungeness stuffed Petrale sole atop chanterelles and fingerlings in saffron crab broth, or seared day boat scallops over pancetta wilted frisée and butternut squash risotto in sage brown butter. Because the area nestles up to prime mushroom foraging country, the chef also favors Bellwether Farms ricotta gnocchi with acorn squash, rapini, Maitake mushrooms and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Each dish arrives like artwork, in pretty mosaics of texture, color and flavor.

In an era where fine dining is quietly fading away (lament the loss of white tablecloths and polished-perfect servers), The Club is an oasis of refinement yet without any stuffiness. Just the setting is extraordinary – nested in an elegant wood building trimmed with a shake roof and welcomed with a giant statue of a preening sea lion.

Given the gorgeous natural surroundings, it's not surprising that eating here is a salute to sustainability, as well. All seafood served is approved by the Seafood Watch Guide program protecting the world's natural resources.

As for the duck, it comes from Liberty of Petaluma, which are raised in an open environment on an all-natural diet. And yes, you can taste the difference.

103 Coast Hwy 1 (in the Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa), Bodega Bay, 707-875-3525,




Carey Sweet