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One Dish: Villon’s Duck Glazed in Lavender Honey

by Trevor Felch

When the much-adored Mission District restaurant Commonwealth closed in 2019, San Francisco diners worried what was next for chef-owner Jason Fox. Good news, everyone — he’s back.

Fox now runs the dining programs at the San Francisco Proper Hotel, including its chic fine-dining restaurant, Villon. There, the chef ’s distinct contemporary-meets- refined cooking style is on prominent display in the Liberty Farms duck main course. “We are always trying to respect classic cuisine, while looking forward,” says Fox. “I think this dish is a perfect marriage of those two worlds.”

A whole duck gets showcased with a lavender honey–glazed breast, slow-cooked legs, a silky liver mousse and a robust jus. The duck quartet is accompanied by blood oranges, baby radishes from Tucker Taylor (the French Laundry’s former culinary gardener) and foraged wild fennel, plus an unexpected spice flourish finale (Szechuan peppercorn and cocoa nibs). It’s a resourceful, captivating dish that celebrates an exciting new chapter for one of the City’s most visionary chefs.

Wine pairings: Villon recommends the St. Laurent 2020 by Christina, since the lighter-bodied Austrian red’s soft tannins and fruit-forward personality pair well with the duck. We’d also enjoy this dish with a juicy, medium-bodied grenache from A Tribute to Grace, Santa Barbara County’s specialist for that underappreciated grape. Of course, duck and a plush Russian River Valley pinot noir full of red fruit notes are a classic pairing. So consider a pinot noir from that region’s many great producers, like Emeritus, Gary Farrell or Moshin.


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