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Fried Chicken Sunday Dinner at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey

Melanie Wong | Apr 13, 201409:05 AM

To chase the stress away after a string of difficult days, last month William and I headed to Restaurant 1833 for the family-style fried chicken dinner offered on Sundays. While the new executive chef has been introducing changes to the menu since coming aboard, the weekly fixed price chicken dinners have continued until she turns her attention to a new concept for Sundays. The same sous chef who has been in charge of chicken service is still on Sunday duty. The restaurant menu has not been updated on the website since opening two years ago, but Opentable displays the limited info when you confirm a reservation on line.

Arriving a little early, we waited in the bar. The “Stress Relievers” section of the cocktail menu seemed tailor made for my evening.

“Suspicious Minds” ($11), for me.

The $36 per person meal starts off with teensy pimento cheese sandwiches as an appetizer.

The second course will typically be a salad. But we lucked out with an essence of Spring soup of fresh peas and beans garnished with lemon cream and buttery croutons. Soups have been a particular strength at 1833 and I was happy to taste another stellar example.

Fried chicken is portioned at half a bird per person and accompanied by a cruet of bacon butter. Yes, that’s right, bacon in a buttery emulsion. The crisp and flaky crust’s only lightly seasoned and the butter adds a needed boost. Brining followed by a buttermilk soak, then fried in duck fat, the bursting-with-juice chicken has gorgeous texture. William, my dark meat-eating brother, said this was the best piece of chicken breast he’s ever encountered, and I have to agree. While the breast was perfectly cooked, the drumsticks and thighs both were bloody at the bone . . . we packed up our substantial leftovers to reheat at home.

The very fine potato puree served on the side would make Joël Robuchon proud. We also ordered some roast cauliflower ($6).

Having tried Pastry Chef Michelle Lee’s fanciful handiwork last summer when she first joined the team, hearing that the night’s dessert would be banana cream pie was somewhat of a letdown. We should have had more faith that she would make it uniquely special from top to bottom.

Tiny pearls of white chocolate coated malt balls add sheen and crunch. The individual pies feature a luxurious banana-infused cream sitting on a painted stripe of caramel sauce. Again, my brother spoke in superlatives about the very short pastry crust, shatteringly crisp without being hard and a study in flaky butteriness.

Dessert was again the highlight. Our meal was not perfect, but I’m glad to have a chance to try the fried chicken before it fades into the sunset.

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