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PETE TITTL: Duck, duck, Goose! Downtown eatery jazzes up menu

It’s a tricky thing to account for personal preferences when writing about restaurants.

I love duck. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s a genetic thing. My father would order duck anywhere no matter how it was prepared, something he once told me came from his Air Force days in Korea. I’ve never been to Korea, but I’ve never ordered duck and not liked it. It could be like the family’s unnatural obsession with chicken wings, which extended to my two brothers and my son. Three generations. More research is needed.

I bring this up because Two Goats & The Goose unveiled a new permanent menu in September that includes duck carnitas tacos with cherry plum chipotle, pickled onions and cilantro ($15.95). From the description I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to see on the plate, as the Two Goats' kitchen goes into interesting places with deep-fried "high school burritos," serious hot dogs and those great pork bites made with loin that’s cubed and deep-fried as an appetizer. Carnitas can end up like that, or it can be stringy and loose after a long braising/frying.

What the kitchen does here is similar to those pork bites, and it’s really great, particularly with the garnishes, the plum and cherry adding that sweetness with is a natural companion for this particular type of poultry, the pickled onions adding a sharpness to the palate experience, the cilantro keeping a bit of Mexico in what seems otherwise far more Asian.

So, the lifetime search for bad duck continues unabated, and I will be sure to share that if and when success is achieved.

My companion did even better, ordering the pecan-crusted halibut tacos ($18.95) drizzled with a sweet Thai chili sauce that, again, brings an element of fusion cuisine to the dish. If you’re hungrier, we can recommend the plate with the same seafood for $26.95.

The kitchen also offers grilled salmon and halibut with the nuttiness added for this particular fish that is as natural a pairing as on the duck tacos. As with the duck, it was the sauce (in both cases not too heavily applied) that elevated the plate.

Other new additions include the shrimp tacos ($14.25), the return of Amaretto bread pudding ($7.95, though we have been won over by those cakes in a cup) and a Framboise float ($9.25) made with raspberry ale and Dewar’s chocolate ice cream. At the bar they have Firestone Walker Unfiltered Double Barrel Ale on tap, a rare find outside the Central Coast brewery’s tap room.

One downside is that the restaurant is currently open only four days a week, but at least most of our old favorites are still available such as the lamb fries, the chile verde, the grilled salmon and lamb salads, the Hudson burger with the fried egg and bacon, and the cheesesteak.

Though it looked like only two people were working and the restaurant was at least half full at all times, service did not suffer.

Two Goats & The Goose can be recommended for a fine dining experience.

Pete Tittl’s Dining Out column appears in The Californian on Sundays. Email him at pftittl@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter at @pftittl.