The Block Island Times

Order this... Duck Confit and the Elegance of Winfield’s

Aug 31, 2013
Photo by: Kari Curtis

While we were at Winfield’s Restaurant, executive chef Berke Marye urged us to include his kitchen staff in the photograph. Byron Marin, T.C. Octigan and Hector de Paz have all been with Marye since he first started at Winfield’s in 2010. Their working relationship is key to the success of the place.

“There’s a lot of mutual respect that goes on in the kitchen,” says Marye. “That’s very important.” In the lounge and dining room, most of the wait staff is from Block Island. “It’s all a tight-knit family,” he added. Together the team has created Winfield’s comfortable, friendly, intimate atmosphere with a style that is “elegant without being too formal.”

Marye says Winfield’s food is rooted in French cuisine. It’s what he learned to cook when he first started working, but his Texas background had plenty of influence, too. As a child he watched his grandmothers serve simple, but good food — everything from spicy Cajun to chicken and dumplings. Now his cooking is “what happens naturally when I get behind the stove.”

It’s the popular duck confit that Marye says is “one of my favorite things to do.” Originally from the Gascony region of France, the process was a way to preserve meats. At Winfield’s, duck legs are rubbed with salt and spices, cured for two to three days, then cooked very slowly in their own fat. “Duck fat is one of the greatest things. It’s full of flavor and really rich,” said Marye.

The duck is served along with duck-fat roasted potatoes on a bed of Creole-dressed watercress, sprinkled with a bourbon vinaigrette and topped with a pinch of pickled red onions. The result is succulent, tender and deeply flavorful. Some guests have come back and asked for double orders.

There’s a whole lot more. And for dessert? Choices include “a mean ricotta cheesecake that Pam Glen makes,” Marye said. — Becky Ballard

Winfield’s Restaurant is located on Corn Neck Road — next to McGovern’s Yellow Kittens — and the phone number is 466-5856.

Order this... is a weekly column celebrating the delicious food and drink that can be found at restaurants, pubs and hotels on Block Island. If you have a recommendation, please call us at 466-2222.

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