Too often we hear of New York institutions disappearing into memory and being recalled fondly at parties when reuniting with old friends. “Remember when” and “things were different then” pop up in conversations and we always wonder “what happened?” Well, on April 19th, one of my fondest memories is having a triumphant revival and I couldn’t be more pleased. Chat n’ Chew is back and sharing its “finer dinering” experience!
The beloved hole-in-the-wall eatery’s first run spanned twenty years from 1994 to 2014, at 10 East 16th Street, right off of Union Square. When it shuttered its doors, it left a gap in the neighborhoods culinary landscape, dominated by larger, noisy outlets. They have reclaimed the same ground level spot and once again provide a lovely intimate hideout for friends to gather for a comforting meal.
Chat n’ Chew was always my go-to meetup spot ever since a close friend took me there when I first moved to the city. There I was introduced to its award-winning Mac and Cheese and Thanksgiving on a Roll. I’m happy to report, these mainstays are still on the menu and are still as good as they ever were. The signature Chat n’ Chew mugs are back as well! The place looks a little different. It’s bit more polished, but still cozy and a little brighter, but still relaxing. The menu has undergone some changes as well, offering some lighter fare if that is what you seek.
While there, you may want to check out the Sweet & Sticky Jumbo Chicken Wings. Coated with K-town BBQ sauce and served with a blood orange kimchi aioli, these morsels hit all the right notes on the palate. Sweet at first and then a pinch from the pepper, these wings get kicked up a bit with a bit of heat and then soothing creaminess of the dipping sauce. The portion was big enough to share, but not so huge that I was ready to quit afterwards. The Organic Blueberry Lemonade was a perfect match to cool things down between bites. If you are in the mood for something else, try the Matzo Ball Soup (a big bowl is just $9) or Papa’s Turkey Meatballs, served with Sunday gravy and shaved Parmesan.
Chew offers a handful of salads from the Iceberg Wedge Salad ($17) with grape tomatoes, Danish blue, crispy shallots, and grass-fed beef, to the Farmhouse Harvest Salad ($14.50) with power greens, dried cranberries, rainbow carrot ribbons, spiced walnuts, and Danish blue. This is available with grilled chicken breast or salmon.
Health conscious individuals will be pleased to see that they have added a 110% Veggie Chili and Union Square Green Market Veggie Bowl loaded with quinoa, baby kale, butternut squash, fennel, arugula, rainbow carrot, shallot, cherry tomatoes, English peas, pumpkin seeds, avocado, and asparagus. Other “mindful” options include the Butternut Squash Ravioli & Crumbled Sage and Roasted Cauliflower & Toasted Hazelnut.
Of course, coming to Chat n’ Chew does require being tempted by the famed Thanksgiving on a Roll. This now-classic sandwich represents an entire holiday dinner in your hungry little paws. Fresh roast turkey, awesome stuffing, wilted kale, and brown gravy are topped off with cranberry aioli in a show stopping sandwich. They also offer a killer Not-So-Classic Three Grilled Cheese on sourdough bread. Its tangy and buttery and makes for a perfect lunchtime bite!
I couldn’t visit without getting a helping of Chat n’ Chew’s Award Winning Mac & Cheese. This has always been, and remains, my favorite. It is served in a cup or a huge bowl this mac is substantial and super creamy, piping hot and a little browned on top with a bit of added crumb-crunch. This was the first thing I ever had at Chew, and it’s as good now as it was then. Don’t judge. I ate the entire big bowl by myself.
Congratulations on your return. I am so happy to see you back. Chat n’ Chew is open 7 days a week from 11:30am to 10pm.