Chat 'n Chew
Union Square, New York, NY
Review by SuSu, MaceVindaloo
Although it might feel like an upstate resort or shore shack community, the offerings are far better and tastier. They are presumably famous for their pies, but I've never tried one. Something about pies in a salvaged deli case, with humidity running down the inside of the case. Is that moisture coming off the pies? Does that mean they'll be dry? I'm not brave enough to find out. But I do hear that their pies are good, from carrot cake to "new york state three apple pie."
They do have cornmeal-fried oysters, sweet potato fries with chili-maple butter, a non-Buddhist burger called "The Holy Cow -- she's not a buddhist, but she's bountiful!", a chef's salad called "The Kitchen Sink," and "Not Your Mother's Meatloaf." It's a fun, cheeky place, and they want you to do as the name of the place says, "Chat 'n Chew." I did brave one dessert, on the recommendation of the waitress -- chocolate Coca-Cola cake, warmed in the oven (not the microwave), and it comes out chewy and crusty from the dry heat, with an oozy chocolate fudge filling and icing between it's three layers.
It's a very comfortable place, punctuated by LOUD voices. It's a hangout, reasonbly priced. The New York University dorms are on Union Square, so many of the students come for an inexpensive, fun night out. But some of the girls were really LOUD and I did wonder why she's exposing the details of her life to everyone in the restaurant?
But I enjoyed the uneven painted wood floors, the rickety steps you need to descend, then ascend, to get to the bathrooms, the many kitschy things on the walls, including street signs and the like. Maybe it's a false memory, but it does feel like a favorite uncle's summer hideout, and you're allowed to come and hang out with him. You eat food your mother won't allow you to eat, you stuff yourself, you talk too loud ... do you get the picture?
Appetizers average around $6, a soup and half a sandwich is $8.50 for a filling lunch. Sandwiches start at $6 for grilled cheese or hotdogs, and top off ath $10.50 for a grilled steak sandwich referred to as "The Boss's Favorite." Big salads are about $8 and stick-to-your-ribs comfort food/blue plate specials run from $7 for the mac and cheese (there is a smaller version for about $4) to about $12 for pork chops or roast turkey or meatloaf. It's all good, and very reasonable!
In summary: crowded, funky, nostalgic, good food, inexpensive. Gotta love it!
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