Nestled in the Hatchery Studios in Asheville’s River Arts District, the Roberts Street White Duck location is a small, quaint taco shop at the end of a narrow road. Parking is located at a gravel lot downhill from the restaurant. While it won’t win any awards for architectural appeal, White Duck’s cuisine more than makes up for it. Due to the shop’s popularity, you’ll likely have to endure a small wait before placing your order at the counter. Swing by the counter along the far right wall to grab drinks, and you’re set to dine in one of the two separate dining areas or outside on the patio.
The menu features over a dozen classic and specialty tacos. Some of the more creative options include Banh Mi tofu, spicy buffalo chicken, Bangkok shrimp, lump crab, Korean beef Bulgogi, and duck with mole, while classic options are available in the form of black bean and fish tacos and cheese quesadillas. Sides include chips and salsa or queso and watermelon with mint. Soups change with the seasons: summer features a cool chilled tomato gazpacho, while winter warms a classic southwest corn chowder. Desserts include a rich chocolate pot du creme and a delectable coconut macaroon pie, both of which we recommend trying given you have room after trying several different tacos. Drink options include tea, draft beer, a variety of house sangrias, and fresh lime margaritas.
The atmosphere in the shop is festive and laid back. You’ll see couples, families with kids, and groups of 20-somethings coming and going at all times, which can feel a bit hectic. The outdoor patio offers a break from the noise with tables under umbrellas spread out across a spacious wooded area. It’s not uncommon to see kids and pets frolicking and enjoying the fresh air. It all adds up to a unique and family-friendly experience.
With so many tacos to choose from, we had a hard time singling these out as our favorites:
Spicy Buffalo Chicken Taco
A game night staple in taco form, this simple concept wowed us with its taste and portion size. Lightly fried chicken tenders are tossed in buffalo sauce and topped with just the right amount of lettuce, pico de gallo, and blue cheese dressing.
While not as creative as some of the other options, the fish taco wins on flavor and texture. You get grilled fish topped with lettuce, pico de gallo, and chipotle crema. The large portion size drives home a truly satisfying dining experience.
Pork Belly Taco
Yet another taco that’s sure to fill you up, this one features a giant slab of pork belly topped with watermelon rinds and drizzled with aioli. We thought that adding some vegetable presence would help balance the heaviness of this taco, but it’s a winner regardless.
Bangkok Shrimp Taco
A refreshing twist on Thai cuisine, this taco houses shrimp, chili aioli, and a sesame glaze rounded out with pickled cucumbers. The crunchy texture of the cucumbers does wonders to balance out the spiciness of the taco. Our only complaint is that the portion size doesn’t quite match up to our other picks.
Korean Beef Bulgogi Taco
We were on the fence about ordering Korean food in a taco shop, but were pleasantly surprised by the Bulgogi taco. A hearty portion of Korean beef Bulgogi is topped with kimchi to create a simple yet satisfying flavor blend. Like the pork belly taco, we think this taco would be an even bigger hit with a few additional ingredients, but at the same time there’s something charming about its one-note simplicity.
-We recommend eating outside if the weather cooperates. Follow the alley next to the front door to reach the outdoor patio. You can enjoy your meal in the shade of trees and umbrellas while taking in the colorful outdoor decor. The staff will bring your food out to you. Peak times are Fridays and Saturdays, during which the line can extend well out of the restaurant, so plan your visit accordingly.