The Kitsilano institution that has nailed great seafood, delicious drinks and amazing atmosphere have opened in Coal Harbour, Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar has officially opened! Ever since seeing Chewies on You gotta Eat Here on Food Network Canada my mouth was watering for the delicious Southern classics that have made them famous. Last weekend I headed down with Adrian and Jeremy of The FoodGays who checked out the opening party a couple of weeks previous, you can check out there post here.
One of the appetizers I had my eye on was the Fried Gator and Hush Puppies ($13). I’ve had gator in the past and it was tough but cooked using a different method, this on the other hand was tender and delicious! The batter wasn’t overly thick but held on nicely to the alligator. If you didn’t know it was alligator you would think it was some kind of mild white fish. The hush puppies were made really well with a nice crisp outside and fluffy inside, I’ve had some before that were like lead balls. Flavor wise they were slightly on the sweet side from the corn but the jalapeno jam countered that with a nice spicy kick that gets you right in the back of your throat.
Adrian kept it light and ordered the Pork Belly Crackling ($10). When I saw the boy’s post about the media event they had a photo of this dish and it had a nice big pork rind or “crackling” as well as the pieces of pork belly-this one didn’t. The pieces of pork belly were a nice size and they give you a good amount but we did have send them back to crisp them up as they were room temperature. With them crisped it was a pleasure to chow down on a few, the meat and fat ratio was good and the skin was delicious.
Jeremy went with the New Orleans classic Jambalaya with house smoked chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp and spicy Cajun rice ($18.75). Jeremy really enjoyed this and kicked it up with some of the house hot sauce. I was lucky enough to score a taste, the shrimp were not over cooked in this and the sausage had a deep smokiness to it that really perfumed the whole dish.
My choice was something I enjoyed when I was down south and have not found till now up here in Vancouver, Shrimp and Grits with New Orleans style beer & rosemary shrimp and aged white cheddar cheese grits ($17.50). This dish for me is classic comfort food and perfect for a cold, rainy day or evening (it’s great with poached eggs as well!). The sauce has all the flavors that make up the South like green bell pepper, onion and celery-this dish is more a savory dish rather than a spicy one (heat). Digging into the perfectly cooked shrimp with that silky sauce was heavenly-Chewies version is legit! The grits are something you either love or hate and it’s usually because of the texture, I love them when done right. These had a good consistency with just the right amount of cheddar cheese flavor.
We really enjoyed our overall experience at Chewies, The service was really attentive, drinks were kept full and food was delicious. Chewies should be starting doing brunch at their Coal Harbour location this weekend and they are open for lunch and dinner service already.