Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
The Chipper

Sunnyside, NY
718-729-8730
A MEMORY LANE REVIEW | CLOSING COMMENTS
Review by SuSu

Several Wookieehut folks are from British Commonwealth countries, if not from dear old Maiden Brittania herself. And those the Brits and their cobbers take a lot of flack for their food preferences, it's quintessential comfort food -- starchy, fatty, meaty, salty, overly sweet. It's no surprise they are best known for the sticky sweets, roasted meats and their fried foods (even Yorkshire pudding is basically a thick, starchy batter fried in the oven in beef fat ...)

Since their food is so reviled by the rest of the world, they have a hard time finding a fresh "taste of home" when they want it most. Sure, rellies can give them packets of crisps and biscuits from the supermarket, but what they really want is good fish and chips -- thick battered slabs of cod or haddock, dropped into "seasoned" oil that's so hot that when the fish comes out, the batter preserved the "splatter" patterns from when the water in the batter boiled on contact with the oil ... these tendrils are crispy, delicious experiences.

Don't forget the chips -- those are fried twice, but are cut so thick that the crust goes soggy almost instantly from the inside. The mealy potatoes which should be used are soft, almost powdery, and very hot! Serve with malt vinegar and salt for an authentic British feel.

In Sunnyside -- a neighborhood of New York filled with Greek and Hispanic immigrants (the largest Greek supermarket in the world is located here) -- there is a tiny corner shop with "Fish & Chips" painted on the window. Painted light blue, it looks like a seaside place; inside, there are rough-hewn boards fashioned into tables, stools and free-standing booths. You go up to the counter and get the most sublime fish and chips ... and if you're really homesick, you'll notice the meat pies! Classic British and down-under combos like chicken and mushroom, steak and kidney, minced pork, curried lamb ... they are smaller than we remember, but sport the hot-water lard crust. Those of us from Australia or New Zealand will prefer the "flakey pastry" they use for these pies, but for the Irish, Scotch, and English expats, they are nostalgic and burn your tongue if you don't let the buggers vent and cool!

Admittedly, these fish & chips are better quality than many of the "takeaway" places back home -- the cod is juicy and big, as is the haddock. You can choose between them for your fish. There are also battered sausages, burgers, chicken ... and mushy peas, or baked beans! (No tinned spaghetti though, not a bad thing! No fried Mars bars, either.) They also offer curry sauce or gravy for your fried food ...

The owner told me that there is a large transient Irish population in Sunnyside, and "Everyone loves fried food, don't they?" As a concession to their actual location, on every table and counter space is a bottle of ketchup, alongside the bottle of malt vinegar and a salt shaker. No black pepper; they will also serve tartar sauce on request. They also do specials on batter-fried jumbo shrimp and chips. It's awesome, basically gourmet cuisine, not traditional working man's fare. For $5, you get 6 shrimp and chips, a very filling meal. Fish is $5.95 per huge piece, chips are $2.00, and bread and butter are 95 cents.

A little piece of the UK + Commonwealth in a Greek and Hispanic neighborhood in the New World ... yummy! (But be sure, by the way, to put a quarter in the parking meter, or you'll be reminded awfully painfully that you are in New York, land of high-price parking fines! There are other ways to decompress from this awesome experience!)

CLOSING COMMENTS — R.I.P.
The Chipper is down the street on the opposite corner of the block from the ill-fated Bloom's, and it helped us through the mourning process to know that excellent fish and chips were there, by the corpse of the big pub. They installed benches and tables hewn out of 2x4 lumber. Surely, anyone going through such effort to provide seating must be planning to stay around a bit, right? Right? Hello ... why isn't the sandwich board advertising the "shrimp and chips" special out? And why can't we see into the shop? Oh no ... and we kept going back hoping that it'd be open again THIS TIME ... and then there was the awful day the calming ocean-blue façade was painted over with a garish red. The Chipper helped us mourn another great eatery ... where do we go to mourn the Chipper????


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