Actually Pretty Awesome

Actually Pretty Awesome: Turducken at Honor Bar

Honor Bar's summertime turducken.
Honor Bar’s summertime turducken. Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

When you walk in to Honor Bar, just to your right there is the namesake honor bar — an ice-filled bucket with bottles of beer for the taking, and you’re expected to use the honor system to let the bartender know how many you’ve taken. It’s a reflection of the casual, masculine vibe of the eight-month-old bar and grill, which lives in a former sushi house smack in the impersonal, industrial heart of Emeryville. The manager of the place is bar star Alex Smith (formerly of Gitane), and features a fun and casual selection of food items from chef Jordan Grosser (formerly of Postrio). Among those items, on the special board this week, is an excellent take on a turducken, dressed down for summer with cornbread and fresh corn.

For those who haven’t watched any dude-centric food television in the last decade, a turducken is a deboned chicken inside a deboned duck, stuffed inside a deboned turkey. It’s a lunatic enterprise, a stunt dish really, that most twentysomething would-be chefs try only once for Thanksgiving. But in this case, Grosser and his team have created an elegant rolled version, wrapped in caul fat and seared on the outside, sliced like a ballantine, and served atop a long cornbread crouton. It comes stuffed with a fastastic chicken-liver stuffing, and on the plate is a delicious, acidic summer-berry gastrique. It’s great and balanced dish, and a welcome, hearty portion that does a good job of soaking up Smith’s unique cocktails.

Also not to be missed, Honor Bar’s excellent pot of brandade; their enormous Market Steak, which comes in a 32-ounce version that’s enough for about three people; And the Bucket o’ Yardbirds, which is a bucket of well-fried fried chicken, with a maple biscuit, macaroni salad, and hot sauce on the side.

Honor Bar - 1411 Powell Street, Emeryville - 510-653-8667 - Open Tuesday to Thursday, 4:30 p.m. to midnight, and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday

Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
Beggar’s Chicken at Betelnut
Lobster Bread Pudding and Smoked Cod at Maverick
Sand Dabs at Bar Jules
Green Farro-Sausage Risotto at RN74
Vegan Charctuerie at Gather
Pickled Eggs at St. Vincent
Beef Tongue at Namu Gaji
Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken at Brasa
Green Garlic Bread at State Bird Provisions
A Dinner of Small Plates and the Duck Confit Salad at Frances
Duck Fat Chex Mix at Truck Stop Café
The Lamb Tongue Salad at Txoko
The Branzino and the Cucumber and Scallops at AQ
Dinner at Local Mission Eatery
Suckling Pig Sandwich at Sweet Woodruff
Crudités at Saison
The Roasted Broccoli Sandwich at Split Pea Seduction
George Mendes’s Partridge in a Pear Tree
The Buffalo Burger at Double Decker
A Preview of Dishes at Haven
Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas
The Cocktails at Outerlands
The Meatball Gigante and the Honey Pie at Tony’s Pizza
Three New Gins from St. George Spirits
The Date Night at Sneaky’s BBQ
Crab and Dumplings at Pican
The Fried-Chicken Sliders at The Lookout
The Tripe and the Pickles at Bar Tartine
Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Doughnuts at Beast & the Hare

Actually Pretty Awesome: Turducken at Honor Bar