A Sandwich a Day: Deep Fried Duck Leg at Serpico in Philadelphia

A Sandwich a Day

A different sandwich profiled every single day.

[Photograph: Collin Keefe]

There's certainly no shortage of sandwich options along the strip of Philly's South Street where Peter Serpico, the former Mr. Spock to Captain David Chang aboard the starship Momofuku, landed with his debut restaurant Serpico back in June. Here on the hoagie's home turf, everything from haute hot dogs, pork banh mi and fried egg-topped braised brisket are as ubiquitous as the roast pork and cheesesteaks.

A newcomer like Serpico's deboned duck leg, seasoned with honey and hoison, fried crisp and served on a Martin's potato roll, could find it a difficult to eke out a spot on this crowded field. But with it's ability to deliver the satisfaction of Peking duck in three or four bites, this sandwich has steadily been amassing a loyal following.

There's more than meets the eye in this playful riff on the classic Chinese dish's familiar flavors. The juicy and flavorful deboned duck flesh comes seamlessly bound together inside its own skin, which is browned and crisped to order in a deep fryer. Serpico admits that the sandwich was inspired in part by the quail ball served at wd~50, where he staged briefly early in his career, but won't give up what sort of molecular gastro-geekery goes into its making. And it's not because he's keeping a careful watch on trade secrets—for Serpico, how it's made isn't as important as how it tastes.