Foodies for Fun
The creative minds behind Chelsea Tavern believe in bold flavor, good taste and some culinary wit. It’s a winning combination.
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Balancing gourmet and comfort food isn’t always easy. I was excited to try McNeice’s new take on chicken and waffles, a dish that’s criminally scarce in these parts. The chef had fired a chicken and waffles dish during his time at Washington Street Ale House that I really liked. (Caked in sticky mango chutney with pink peppercorns, it was a bit over the top, but very tasty.) Yet Chelsea’s chicken and waffles fell flat for me. A tiny plate cradled blocks of waffles stacked vertically among crispy fried chicken thighs. It was a promising start, but the chef’s choice for a sauce—a grainy, gloppy, Gorgonzola crème—turned to mortar after a few chews. Chicken and waffles hankers for a bit of sweetness to take it over-the-top delicious. Gorgonzola crème might be an upgrade in the grandeur department, but this felt like soul food that had lost some soul.
We suffered one minor snafu in service, a mixup involving the presentation of the lunch specials at dinner time that resulted in us being served an unwanted dish. But the experience was a blip in otherwise exemplary hospitality.
Armed with a promising location, a good bar scene and a chef who’s bonkers about food (he owns an ’81 Benz that runs on used vegetable oil), Chelsea Tavern could gain a rapt audience, whether that turns out to be the theater people, the lawyers, the bankers, the jocks, the foodies or whoever. It’s not just versatility. It’s fun.