It’s time once again for me to shill for my favorite restaurant in Macon. I am a huge fan of Dovetail.
My second visit to Dovetail saw a departure from the small plates that I enjoyed on my first visit. Opting to go entree’ that night, I ordered The Commodore and indulged completely in a dish so worthy of its’ own review that I posted it the same night. I just wish I had taken a photo.
While looking over the menu to see what new offerings were being featured (they update the menu every four weeks or so) one dish in particular on the small plates caught my eye, and I knew I’d have to get back soon before the menu was changed again to have it before it was gone… Piri Piri Quail.
I love quail, but it was the piri piri that intrigued me. You don’t see that on menus around these parts very often if at all, and the only times I’ve been able to enjoy the hot African pepper has been in piri piri hot sauce at a local sub sandwich chain. I was curious to see how it would come across in finer dining.
Bent on not missing out, but unable to secure a dining companion, I headed out last night to Dovetail and got a seat at the bar right by myself and prepared to experience something new and different.
Much to my delight, I discovered that Dovetail is now offering whiskey flights – a sampling of three – and after careful consideration, I chose the “Smoked Out” flight which featured High West Campfire, Texas Single Malt, and what smokey whiskey experience would be complete without Laphroaig 10 Year. It was going to be a good night.
I placed my order for the quail, and at the recommendation of a foodie friend I also ordered the Seared Duck Breast, another small plate I remember from my second visit and was keen to try. I don’t usually go out of my way for duck, having tried it several times at a few places over the years, and finding it to be a mostly hit-and-miss experience. I was hoping for a hit this time. What I got was a home run.
As the captain turned off the “No Seatbelts” sign during the whiskey flight, my small plates arrived, delivered by the Executive Chef himself.
The split quail was served with an eggplant mash, the most wonderful little green tomatoes that were halved and marinated, and with crumbles of queso fresco. Truly a perfect choice for a small plate, the quail were tender with crispy skin and were easily navigated with a fork and knife despite their diminutive size. The heat from the piri piri was set to a level such that this dish would be compatible with every palette, with an amount of heat that was just between bite and burn. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this dish.
However, as good as the quail was, the duck flies higher.
The seared duck breast was a perfect medium rare, with enough fat rendered off to make for a crispy mahogany skin with a small layer of fat underneath to keep the meat tender and juicy. The dish was plated with rutabaga risotto, green apples, and a gastrique of persimmon. A most underrated root vegetable, and mostly served cubed and boiled, or maybe as a mash, and mostly at cafeterias or at grandma’s house on Sundays all over the South, the humble rutabaga has finally been elevated to new heights in the risotto. The duck paired very well with the subtle sweetness of the fruits and the slight bitterness of the rutabaga to create a rather unique flavor profile that was something new and exciting. This duck was next level.
Having saved the Laphroaig for last, I savored its’ smokiness, happy that I had not missed out on these wonderful small plates of small birds that delivered big flavor. I was once again taken by Dovetail to new places for new flavors that will keep me coming back.