As one of my numerous birthday celebrations, my folks and I went to the new Chewies location in Coal Harbour. I’ve heard good things about Chewies but I’ve never been to its Kitsilano location. The second store has just opened its door recently and it’s located at the former Miku spot.
For a restaurant that uses oysters as a feature, of course we had to order some Fresh Oysters on the half shell. They are surprisingly affordable here, $3 each with the exception of a cheaper kind at $2.50. We ordered one dozen each of Kusshi (my fav!) and Shigoku (aka Fat Bastards at some restaurants). Oh wow, these oysters were delish! I have never had such good quality of fresh oysters at any other restaurants. They were big, plump (for their kind) and tasted fresh. They were all of equal size so you know it’s been picked through for quality control. The fresh oysters come with 3 housemade sauces and hot sauce, which all bring some various degree of acidity to the oysters. These were so good that we could have had a few more dozens of them, but we figured we should stop so we could eat other things too.
Next, the Louisiana Blue Crab Cakes were probably one of the best crab cakes I’ve had in Vancouver. It had not much filler, straight-up crab meat, so it’s not holding together very well and fell apart easily. But every bite was full of crab meat with crispy breading on the outside. The sauce did make the breading a bit soggy at certain bite but it wasn’t too bad.
We ordered the Salt Spring Island Mussels with the Fiery Creole Tomato Sauce, thinking that it would be spicy. It wasn’t spicy, at all. It was very tomato-y, which I liked, but I couldn’t taste any heat. Despite that, the mussels were plump and juicy and were cooked right. Steamed mussels is something I order often, and I wasn’t wow’d by this one.
The Fried Oyster Po’ Boy had two decent size fried oysters. It’s simple, but it tasted pretty good. The highlight was probably the cajun fries on the side. Crispy fries tossed in spicy cajun seasoning; it may get salty but it’s addictively good.
Our server highly recommended his favourite, the Southern Fried Chicken, and we’re glad we listened to him. The batter was done so well the skin was nice and crispy. The chicken was well seasoned and moist, even for the chicken breast which some could make it tough and chewy, but not in this case. I really like the sweet honey glaze that was drizzled on the chicken; the sweet and savoury combination really shines here. And man, the buttermilk mashed potatoes were fluffy and creamy (and probably fattening). A very enjoyable dish.
Lastly, for dessert, the Valrhona Chocolate Lava Cake looked like a regular chocolate molten cake, but there’s a subtle heat to it which made it even better. It was rich and decadent, and a sweet finish to a satisfying meal.
I thought the service was quite good. We arrived in between shifts, but I thought the servers were transitioned smoothly and we were courteously notified of it. Servers are friendly, and love chatting with you, which make it this a social, fun place to hang out after work or on the weekends.
The restaurant seems to have two sections. One more like the bar area with TV screens showing sports, while the other side with the open kitchen and proper table and chairs. This probably caters to different clientele and occasions.
Overall, I had a great time at dinner and I will definitely go back for some oysters and fried chicken. I quite look forward to its Buck-A-Shuck and I wonder if the quality holds. I thought it’s an interesting location given it’s mostly among business buildings and you wonder how well they do on weekends. I hope they will do very well so I can keep going back for excellent quality oysters!
Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar – Coal Harbour
1055 West Hastings Street, Vancouver