Thursday, February 28, 2008

Restaurant: Chat N Chew

Chat N Chew is just what the name sounds like, a laid back comfort food type of place where people gather for fun drinks, southern style home cooking with a few twists. The portions are huge, the prices are moderate and it often can feel like it's hidden just off of Union Square. With all the big name places nearby, Chat N Chew caters more to the locals and college students looking for a big meal that reminds them of what it feels like to enjoy mac and cheese, nachos, burgers, and spiked lemonade. One of my friends who grew up in the neighborhood swears by the place, and probably goes at least once every time he is back home. In the past I've gone for brunch and lunch, bet never for dinner. This time around I arrived around 9pm on a Friday night with a friend and while busy, it's never impossible to get a table. While staring at some of the kitchy "authentic" decor we agreed to split a plate of nachos while I went with the meatloaf and mashed potatoes. He got the honey dipped fried chicken with mashed potatoes, also known as "Uncle Red's Addiction". Needless to say, if Uncle Red is addicted to this stuff he must be quite the big fellow.

The nachos were pretty standard, although they did a nice job of not letting the chips get soggy from any of the various toppings. Guacamole, jalapenos and pico de gallo were all include with some sort of southwestern sour cream. The service was almost a little too quick, as our main dishes came out and we were still giving our all to plow through the nachos. Then we were stuck with three giant plates on a table that could only hold two and I thought at one point my plate was actually going to fall into my lap. Eventually we flagged down a bus boy and told him no, we were not going to eat the piece of lettuce and jalapeno that was sitting on the empty plate and we got enough room to enjoy our meal.

While I didn't get a chance to try some of Uncle Red's favorite, I assumed by the lack of any leftovers and my friend refusing to share that the chicken was finger licking good. My meatloaf was very moist with a nice crust along the outside which I always like. It came with a sweet and very thick gravy slathered on top that complimented the meatloaf flavor very well. Personally, however, I could have used a little less gravy on top, because at times I felt I couldn't taste the dish, and only the gravy. The mashed potatoes were good, if not somewhat standard. Leaving the skins on is always a favorite of mine, but I've had so many different mashed potatoes that the only time I really notice them is when they are either extremely bad, or extremely good. These fell in the slightly above average category.

We had to skip dessert, although the coca cola cake sounded good, since we both felt like we need to be rolled out of the restaurant like Violet from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Needless to say, if you want some big portions of quality American home cooking with a relaxed vibe and not the most attentive service, swing on by Chat N Chew.

Don't Chat N Chew at the same time, it's rude

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