When Two Chefs and a Table opened 3 years ago, they were one of the first restaurants to introduce Vancouver to the Southern classic dish Chicken and Waffles. Three years later, Chef Karl Gregg was itching to showcase flavor combinations that have made places famous in the United States as well as something new that we haven’t seen here before in fried chicken. Eating in Vancouver was invited along with a handful of other select media outlets for a Private Tasting of the Two Chefs Chicken Shack menu.
From March 6th – 8th, the Two Chefs Chicken Shack will be taking over the regular Two Chefs and a Table space by serving up fried chicken three different ways — the Original that made them famous, a Korean inspired recipe, and Hot. To complete the Southern Soul Food experience, the chicken will be available with classic Southern sides like coleslaw, mac & cheese, beans, and potato wedges, all done Two Chefs’ style.
Not to stop there but the bar is serving up bourbon cocktails (like Mint Juleps and Sazeracs) and a special craft beer list to compliment the chicken and sides.
Southern side dishes are some of my favorite comfort food items and Two Chefs Chicken Shack didn’t disappoint. The biscuits were flaky with a buttery mouth feel, and texture wise they were on the dense side but still great.
The coleslaw comes in two varieties – traditional and Asian. If you like a coleslaw that is light on the mayo and has a nice hint of cider vinegar, then you’ll love the traditional. My favorite was the Asian with its sesame punch and its crunch from the Napa cabbage.
The Mac and Cheese was one of the best I’ve had lately and is a standard on the Two Chefs and a Table menu. It was rich and creamy with a nice sharp cheddar crust.
You can’t have a Southern Soul Food meal without some form of greens — and I’m not talking salad. Collard or mustard greens are the call of the day down south but collards are hard to source here. Two Chefs cooked up some kale with bacon and butter for us but they also used mustard greens bought from the local community garden. All of the side dishes were winners in my eyes as the flavors and comfort food feel hit all the right notes.
The potato wedges, or as they are better known down south as “JoJos”, come in two varieties – a traditional plain that are dusted with a touch of rub with coffee, and a spicy version that are sprinkled with chopped jalapenos and scallions. Both of them were delicious and were almost addictive. The plain ones had a nice smoky note from the coffee rub.
The Korean Fried Chicken is a variation on Big Lou’s popular Bulgogi spice mix. The chicken breading was spiced nicely, but the star of the show was the Bulgogi style dipping sauce for the chicken. The sauce features dark soy, ginger, scallions, garlic and chilies with some tang from lime juice. It literally made my mouth water and worked great with the chicken.
The Original Fried Chicken was textbook perfect. They brine all the chicken and then the shallow stove top frying results in a beautiful crisp outside without all the greasiness of full deep frying. It’s just like a Southern Grandma would do. The chickens are from Maple Hills Farm in Abbotsford, BC, and are some of the best medication and antibiotic-free birds around. The pieces were all juicy and because the birds are around 4-5lbs each, the pieces were all generous.
The Hot recipe was inspired by a visit to the legendary Prince’s Fried Chicken Shack in Nashville, home of Tennessee Hot Fried Chicken. They put cayenne pepper not only in the batter, but also on the chicken in the seasoning process, so you get spice with every bite. Digging into this, I was prepared for the burn but in the end I found it well balanced. It was spicy, but I could still get the great flavor from the chicken.
To cap things off, the Chef brought out some Chocolate Chip Bacon cookies using bacon from Big Lou’s Butcher shop, as well as a Vanilla Bourbon Pudding, both of which should be on the final menu. The cookies were amazing when paired with the boozy pudding, a sinful adult dessert.
The Fried Chicken menu will be available for lunch and dinner service, eat-in and take-out and is going to be served up three ways: whole, half or Chicken and Waffles. The food was absolutely delicious and the chefs nailed it. You’re going to want to get your tail down to the Two Chefs Chicken Shack when they open March 6th, 2013 for a taste of the South that will keep you wanting more.
Two Chefs and a Table | 305 Alexander Street, Vancouver, BC | 778- 233- 1303 | www.twochefsandatable.com