Eli, I can understand how brushing the chicken with the hot oil would crisp up the skin. When Michael and I shared the chicken for lunch on Monday, I fried it on both sides in peanut oil, and the skin became nice and crispy. As for the chicken itself, perhaps having to cook the thick cut longer to insure doneness is what dries it out, whereas if it was pounded thin, a quicker fry would keep it moist. I covered the pan which actually helped make the meat moister. Michael doused his piece with the hot sauce and said it was very spicy which he loved. I covered mine with the ranch dressing which enhanced the chicken’s flavor. He loved the collards. (I quick-cooked some frozen corn in butter for myself.) Interesting that Mrs. P. doesn’t care for the biscuit. Puts me in good company. I had really wanted to try the dish with the waffles but, sadly, never got around to it.
@bgut1, Thanks for the compliment! It’s been way too long since we last got together with you and the Mrs. I hope she and your boys are well.
Roz, I’m glad that you and Michael were able to salvage and enjoy the remaining chicken the following day for lunch. You are probably right about cooking the thicker cut longer, causing it to dry out, but if you know Drew, he doesn’t do anything ‘thin’
Ha! So true!
Everybody is doing well. Thank you for asking. I hope the same with you and my regards to M.
I, too, wasn’t super crazy about their take on “Nashville Hot Chicken.” It lacked enough heat, or really enough sauce in the batter for that matter, and the skin was hardly crispy except for a few pieces.
The spice blend in the batter was pretty nice, with a bit of sweetness, the chicken itself moist and juicy, though I would’ve preferred fattier cuts than breast. It came with mashed potatoes and braised collard greens which I thought were excellent.
I haven’t tried Drew’s take on Nashville Hot Chicken and therefore have nothing to add on how good it is. However, I wanted to throw one thing out there. For whatever reason, too many restaurants play it safe and never try out new dishes. There are several well known restaurants in the area (that shall remain nameless) who haven’t changed their menus in years if not since the day they first opened. Drew on the other hand should be commended for mixing things up and giving his customers variety. As a result, the place never gets old and I eat there regularly and look forward to trying different things. I am sure Drew will be the first to admit that not every new item he puts on the menu is perfect and a hit (though most usually are) and I for one applaud him for trying. If he reads this, I hope he takes these comments as constructive and loving criticism and in no way impedes the genius that is his cooking.
I appreciate that he always has a different ‘Pork Du Jour’. Every time we go each month, the pork cut and preparation are always different (and usually very good).
+1 for both previous posts. He is definitely innovative and a true talent. If this place was in my town I’d be a lot poorer and fatter …and happier.
Drew: if you read this, which I think you may , farm out your skills and get some of your food into these lame Monmouth County restaurants. Go big buddy
Drew does most certainly read this as I was called out one time by Drew via a mutual friend of ours. lol
With that said I will send this message to him; Drew there is NO questioning your food, hands down outstanding. My biggest problems are
1.) It’s heavy food, not that that’s a bad thing, but I cannot go to your place in the summer because after eating some of your meals (delicious) if I hit heat or humidity I think I’m going to die. lol No joke, unfortunately I only go to your place in the winter. This is more a “me thing than you”, however if you could incorporate some “lighter” items it might go a long way.
2.) Service my man. The service at the restaurant is adequate, but never great. I’ve never had a manager check on the table, and the waitresses while adequate and friendly do become overwhelmed when you are slammed and things can be lacking. I think your biggest downfall is the lack of a floor manager / front of house. Just my opinion my friend. (I would gladly donate my time to you to help organize your floor, no joke) With your food, creativity and skill and a properly run dining room you should look for a space about 10 mile south on 35 and knock Nicholas off his perch.
All joking aside, the old Portofino’s location is on the market. lol Inbox me!!
I am sure that Drew does read this board and takes all posts to heart whether positive or critical . I partially agree with you on the first problem and disagree on the second. As for the food, the “heaviness” of it is par for the course when it comes to the creole/cajun/low country food served. Should you want something light, there are always options to work with including a daily catch. Though I am sure they wouldn’t want everyone to request changes, the kitchen will work with you regarding preparation of a dish. I admit there have been times I didn’t want something heavy and was able to get something that fit the bill for that meal. Either way, I am sure Drew will consider this request. As for your second criticism, I have been frequenting Drew’s regularly since the day it opened at its first location and I have never had any issue with the service. Absolutely none. That being said, I understand that mileage may vary and everyone’s experience is different.
Last month Drew had a pretty refreshing & light appetizer (light according to Drew’s standards ) of Seared Calamari, muffuletta olive salad. You can also order fish with any heavy sauce on the side, if you want something light. They are pretty accommodating.
Also, as far as the service goes, I think it is fantastic, when we dine alone. Sometimes when we dine with another couple they tend to leave us alone, if we are deep in conversation. We always get Colleen as our waitress, and she is the best. She always takes good care of us. She is so dedicated, that on days when she is out, she will call the other server up, and instruct them how to take care of us
@NotJrvedivici we need Drew to open a restaurant further North (closer to us) and not farther down South (away from us)
I specifically said the service has been adequate but in my opinion never outstanding. Adequate doesn’t represent that there are issues however when you are working with food that is as exceptional as his I would prefer the service to be as outstanding as the food, in my opinion it is not. Again not being outstanding doesn’t mean it’s bad.
In all your experiences there has there ever been a front of the house person on the floor? Has anyone besides your server checked on your table? (and It doesn’t count if you are known there and they make an exception to check on you) In my opinion the front of house is equally important as back of house, at Drew’s there in an imbalance between the two.
The problem with your suggestions with the food is his strong points or meals are the heavier ones. I don’t go there for the catch of the day, so it’s a bit of a catch 22.
Junior - To answer your question, I don’t recall a front of the house person coming to check on my table. But to be quite honest, I neither have any expectation that one would do so nor any need for that to happen as my server has always provided excellent service. I also find such a ritual (usually reserved for fine dining restaurants) to be a little overbearing and fussy. I’d rather be left alone and permitted to enjoy my food, drink and conversation with my dining companion(s). If I need a front of the house person (usually due to a service issue), I will ask for one. The lack of such unnecessary formality is one of the reasons I enjoy Drew’s so much and the reason why such level of dining has flourished over the years. Your contention that Drew’s strong point is his heavier food, is an acknowledgement that his is a creole/cajun/low country food restaurant. People know what they are getting when they go there. Hence, vegans don’t go to steakhouses expecting vegan food. I will however challenge you to give Drew a chance with lighter fare as I can attest to the same level of inventiveness and quality of ingredients as used in his other dishes. As he does with regard to vegan and gluten free offerings, I am sure the kitchen will accommodate you (you don’t need to order the catch of the day - try asking for a lighter prep for the pork de jour). Again, this is something I have personal experience with. Please let us know if you choose to do so.
I agree about the kitchen being very accommodating. Last year Drew had a special of soft shell crabs in a very heavy buttery garlic sauce. Mrs. P requested a lighter puttanesca sauce (which they just happened to have for a mussel appetizer) and they happily obliged. They will also switch up side dishes as well.
We went last night for an early dinner with another couple and our nearly 1 year old. I ordered the special halibut over asparagus risotto. Delicious and relatively light. A deceiving large portion. Everything was great except I think our waitress forgot about us. Some very long waits and requested items, like more water, were never fulfilled. The table was happy and we all walked out full.
He’s been liking my stuff on Instagram ever since I sent him my Etouffee pic. Maybe I should apply for a job on the line.
Yes, Drew has been following me on Instagram as well, & liking some of my posts
I have been following him on Instagram as well, and drooling over his creations He is a really nice guy.
Ask him to come on here and post. He has a huge following on here and it’s free. @gcaggiano
Strangest thing is I have NEVER eaten there! Whoops, what an admission! But seeing his following here and on Instagram is going to make me go very soon.