Did you know that Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar has a Date Night special on Monday nights? I recently was invited to sample from the Date Night menu and enjoy some fantastic wine too. My partner in crime for the night was Dianne Chow aka @diannechow on Twitter.
If you have not heard of Chewies before it is a New Orleans inspired restaurant in the Kitsilano area located at 2201 W 1st Ave. They have a decent wine list with 7 red wines by the glass, 9 white wines by the glass, and 2 sparkling by the glass (which goes really well with oysters on the half shell). You of course can purchase full bottles of wines at Chewies.
For this evening, our host, Charles, opened a bottle of Wild Goose Autumn Gold 2011, BC. I really like Wild Goose’s white wines. They have a good balance between fruit, sugar and acidity. This wine is a blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Pinot Blanc grapes. Off dry in style with higher acidity, and flavours of white peach, pear and lychee. Soft and light bodied. A very easy wine to enjoy. The bit of sweetness also helps to cool any New Orleans spice.
Our Tasting Menu
The Monday Date Night menu consists of 1 shared appetizer, two main courses, and a shared dessert. Bottles of wine are half price too. Our tasting menu consisted of:
- Pan seared calamari – Local Humboldt squid, cucumber, jalapeño mint salad
- Jambalaya – House smoked chicken, andouille sausage, prawns, tasso ham, spicy Cajun rice
- Beef brisket – Applewood smoked angus beef brisket, sweet potato mash, coleslaw, house made spicy BBQ sauce
- Lagniappe– pan fried oysters – Panko bread crusted Fanny Bay Oysters, house made tartar sauce
- Pecan pie – Whipped cream and chocolate sauce
Have you heard of Lagniappe before? It is a Cajun word, meaning a little bit extra. Like when you are given an extra donut when you buy a dozen, or an appetizer at no charge at a restaurant. Today the pan fried oysters were Lagniappe.
The Pan Seared Calamari was cooked very differently than I have ever had before, and it was quite good. It was thinly sliced and marinated in buttermilk, then pan fried with dried chili flakes and chopped parsley. The dish came with a sauce on the side that was creamy and spicy with a smoky edge, which I think was from smoked paprika. If you did not know the slices were calamari you could be mistaken guessing they were a pasta noodle. Tender, not chewy. The cucumber salad was a nice texture contrast with the crunch of the cucumber. The Wild Goose Autumn Gold, fruitness and sweetness also helped balance out the spice.
Jambalaya is a New Orleans classic dish, similar to paella. Creole Jambalaya according to Wikipedia is made, “..First, meat is added to the trinity of celery, peppers, and onions, the meat is usually chicken and sausage such as andouille or smoked sausage. Next vegetables and tomatoes are added to cook, followed by seafood. Rice and stock are added in equal proportions at the very end. The mixture is brought to a boil and left to simmer for 20 to 60 minutes…“. With Chewie’s Jambalaya you get smoky, earthy flavour, where the spice builds in your mouth the longer you eat it. All the chicken and ham is very tender, with the chicken served in decent chunks on your fork. The andouille sausage sliced thin has that right balance of meat to fat. This Jambalaya has lots of spice to it, so if you are spice adverse, avoid this dish, but if you like spice, dig in!
My favourite dish of the night was a Beef Brisket. It had a wonderful smoky flavour together with a bbq sauce with black pepper and vinegar. Brisket is always tender, and has lots of flavour on it’s own. The slaw with this dish had a good dose of vinegar in it, but also a hint of sweetness. Either of these main dishes are quite large so be sure to be hungry for the date night menu.
If you have room, there is dessert, and for us, we shared a slice of pecan pie, accompanied with a chocolate sauce and a firm dollop of whipped cream. The pie was not too sweet and the pecans had a nice amount of chewiness to them. The whipped cream looked so firm I initially thought it was ice cream, but the spoon easily carved through it. Pecans and chocolate are a great pairing, so make sure you get some chocolate sauce on your piece of pecan pie, and some of the whipped cream, and your tastebuds will thank you. Add a cup of coffee to it too, relax and slowly digest your New Orlean’s dishes.
Chewies is also well known for their 2 day marinated buttermilk fried chicken and they have a special every Tuesday, so after Monday’s date night, drop by for Tuesday’s chicken. Cheers.