Opening Duke Falcon's Global Grill in 1997, owner Charlie Christensen takes eclectic dining literally. Using influences, flavors and methods from cooking styles around the world, Duke Falcon’s is a place where you can have a Latin American appetizer, an Asian-inspired main course and an all American dessert, each made with a nod to the tradition it comes from.
Seasonally, there are also special events like chef tastings in winter and a prix fixe option in spring. Duke Falcon’s, at 36 W. Park Ave., is also a destination for holidays, where the prices can be counted on to remain the same, with extra offerings added for those special occasions.
Décor: The restaurant is welcoming, with pieces displayed that easily catch the attention of guests. The walls are covered with memorabilia from the travels and adventures of Duke Falcon, and the overall sense is that of a place with varied influences that blend well to create an atmosphere of global influence. African art hangs next to photos of Asian temples, giving life to this global theme.
Appetizers: With so many styles of food, the appetizer list is far longer than many other restaurants. The lemon tempura shrimp and chicken sampler ($12) is a favorite, with a wasabi mayo served on the side. Another popular choice is the portabella flautas ($8), tortillas stuffed with mushrooms, roasted peppers and red onions. If you’re looking to start light, you can’t go wrong with one of their small salads, like the almond apple salad ($8) served with granny smith apples and their homemade buttermilk bleu cheese dressing.
Drinks: In accordance with the theme of the restaurant, the beer list includes beers from over a dozen different countries, such as Italy’s Peroni, Jamaica’s Red Stripe and Germany’s Spaten. Duke Falcon also carries domestic specialties like Saranac and Sierra Nevada and all beers, foreign or domestic, are $7. Wines are also from all corners of the globe, with Alto Adige’s Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio ($38) from Italy and Chile’s La Playa Merlot ($7 glass, $26 bottle). Popular also are their mixed drinks, like the raspberry cosmopolitan and mango martini ($9.50).
Entrees: One way to go at Duke Falcon is Creole, with something like their herb blackened pork tenderloin ($19) served in a Louisiana brown sauce with jambalaya and vegetables on the side. Another direction is to try a seafood dish like the Asian style seared rare sesame crusted tuna ($29). Served with a sweet sesame glaze, it also comes with stir-fried vegetables and jasmine rice timbale. There are also several meal sized salads and the skirt steak salad ($18) is a great choice, with a mix of roasted red peppers, caramelized red onions and blue cheese with a Dijon balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Sides: Duke Falcon’s sides are great compliments to whichever style of cuisine you decide on. There are classic options like mashed sweet potatoes and beer battered fries, along with flavored fries like their spicy buffalo fries. Healthier choices include sautéed string beans with garlic, grilled vegetables, or wild rice. All sides are priced at $4.95.
Desserts: All desserts are freshly made on premises, something not every restaurant can say. A standout is the key lime pie (6.95), made from a recipe that Christensen picked up while living in Key West. The chocolate hazelnut puff (6.95) is also a favorite, with dark chocolate frangelico served with caramel sauce. Duke Falcon’s apple crisp (6.95) is a classic choice, served hot with vanilla and cinnamon gelato on the side.
Service: Owner Charlie Christensen can often be seen at the restaurant, personally making sure each table has anything it might need. Service is fast and courteous, with the staff being knowledgeable about the extensive menu, a feat in itself with so many options. All questions are answered fully and cheerfully.
Signature Dish: The New Zealand lamp chops with rosemary rub ($34) is an example of how Duke Falcon takes global cuisine seriously. This meal comes with a choice of Dijon cream, roasted garlic, or goat cheese sauce and is served with grilled vegetables and wild rice to compliment the flavors of the juicy lamb, as brought out by the herb rub.