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Daring D.C. Restaurant Revives Stunning French Cooking Technique

Bresca’s ”duck press” service is available while supplies last

A spin on the traditional canard à la rouennaise is now hitting diners’ plates at Bresca.
Rey Lopez/Under a Bushel Photography
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Critically acclaimed newcomer Bresca is going old school for its latest act, turning to a 19th-century serving technique to wow diners in its modern dining room.

The award-winning restaurant has followed through on its mission to incorporate a vintage duck press into its dinner service. The historic contraption doing all the work — along with chef Ryan Ratino, who taught himself how to operate it — was invented in 19th-century Paris. The starring dish is prepared with a metal device dubbed canard à la rouennaise (or, “duck in blood sauce”). At Bresca, up to four ducks per night will be sent through a large crank and a wheel that compacts the featured birds. Juices are then strained, turned into a thick sauce, and poured over the end product. Ratino dresses up the production by taking care of everything tableside on a rolling cart pushed up right next to adventurous diners.

The intensive production — a rarity for a D.C. restaurant — is available on a first-come, first-serve basis and costs around $125 for a gourmet meal for two to four. Accompaniments include charred wild onion and wild onion pistou, grilled and glazed rainier; foie gras can be tacked on for an additional $40.

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