Few restaurants channel the seasons with as much heart as Russet, the understated theater-district BYOB owned by husband-and-wife chefs Andrew and Kristin Wood. And with the weather turning cold, what's more evocative than wood smoke and maple syrup? Andrew steeps those flavors down into one particularly powerful plate of local duck inspired by a meal at Montreal's Au Pied de Cochon.
After brining them for a week, Wood cold-smokes these especially plump legs over apple and cherry wood for eight hours, then slow-braises them in herbed stock and Pennsylvania maple syrup for 16 more hours.
Crisped to order, the leg is served over caramelized apples, baby mustard greens, and roasted purple-top turnips. It's at once rustic and refined, a little sweet and touched with root-cellar bitter, like autumn itself.
- Craig LaBan