When I found out that Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar, which had just opened a couple of months back, was serving up Southern style fried chicken I knew I had to try it out the next time I was in Vancouver. Hence, it was on the top of my list of places to try when I arrived in town last week. Located in the trendy neighbourhood of Kitsilano, Chewies is one of the few places that serves up Southern classics such as shrimp & grits, gumbo, etoufee, and po’boy’s along with a decent selection of oysters. My friend C and I decided to check it out for brunch last Saturday.
We started off with a half-dozen Fresh Shucked Oysters on a Half Shell ($1.50 each). The feature oysters for $1.50 each were the Summer Breeze and the Fanny Bay, both from the BC coast. The Summer Breeze were sweet with a smoky finish while the Fanny Bay ones had a melon finish. The oysters were served with fresh lemon and lime, freshly grated horseradish and a trio of housemade sauces – a champagne shallot mignonette, a cocktail sauce and a Habanero cocktail sauce. Our server suggested that we try the oysters with fresh lime juice and a bit of cracked black pepper as that was his favourite way of eating the oysters. I’d never tried it with lime juice and black pepper before. It turned out to be the perfect way to have them. In the end, I actually preferred having the oysters with the lime juice and cracked black pepper instead of with the various sauces.
My friend C ordered the Braised Short Rib Hash ($15). The dish consisted of braised short rib, black eyed peas, smoked gouda, diced Kennebec potato home fries, and was topped with two poached eggs. This dish was a recent addition to Chewies’ new brunch menu. On paper, this dish sounded really good but somehow it failed on the delivery. The short rib was fork tender, the eggs perfectly poached, and the black eyed peas toothsome. The one real issue we had was with the home fries made from Kennebec potatoes. I had high expectations of the home fries since such a big deal was being made about the Kennebec potatoes. Since the home fries were sitting in the skillet along with the short rib sauce/juices, they were not crispy. Instead, they were chewy, rubbery, dense, and bland. We had a hard time finishing the fries.
In contrast, the Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles ($12) that I had ordered was a definite winner. The dish consisted of two fluffy buttermilk waffles and three pieces of perfectly fried chicken that had been marinated in buttermilk for 2 days. This was easily the best chicken & waffles that I’ve had to date. It certainly beats out the chicken & waffles that I had at the famous Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles in San Francisco (CA) last summer and also the fried chicken that I had at The Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar in Portland (OR) back in November. Chewies’ fried chicken was succulent and moist on the inside while having a flavourful, crispy crust on the outside. The Cajun honey butter and the apple chutney provided the perfect amount of sweetness to the dish. I’ll definitely be back to Chewies’ for these chicken and waffles.
I was actually pleasantly surprised at how good the fried chicken & waffles were. It’s about time we finally have a place here that serves up good Southern fare. Besides the chicken & waffles, I’m curious to go back to Chewies’ to try out some of their other classic Southern dishes.
Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar
2201 West 1st Ave