I’ve been on an oyster craze lately, so when SP and SK asked where to eat, I suggested Chewies at Coal Harbour. We decided to get there right after work so we could get our orders in for happy hour. There’s some construction going around here right now so it’s a bit hidden, but they do have some signs directing you.
The restaurant wasn’t too busy on a random Thursday night. The patio outside did fill up, but the indoor seating was still quite free. I hear they are quite packed on Fridays and weekends though. The Coal Harbour location has happy hour from 3-6pm daily, and the people were quite nice about it even though we arrived at 5:45. They made sure we got our orders in right before 6pm.
Whistler Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale
Several of their BC craft beers and boutique wines were featured on their happy hour menu for $5, which is a pretty good deal. Their pints of beer are all 20oz, so it’s actually quite a bit! I chose the Whistler Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale, which I loved! You got that hint of citrusy flavour and I liked how it wasn’t very bitter.
Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Red Ale
SP got the Parrallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Red Ale, which is more of a bitter ale. You could definitely taste the contrast from the grapefruit ale, but it’s definitely a lighter beer compared to some of the really strong bitter ones I’ve had.
We were obviously here for their buck a shuck oysters, so they first started us off with the sauces that go along with the oysters. They have four: a cucumber vinegar, your classic mignonette, cocktail sauce, and a spicy habanero. They also bring you some Tabasco sauce. Our favourite was probably the spicy habanero, but it really wasn’t even that spicy.
$1 BC Beach Oysters
We got a dozen of their $1 BC Beach Oysters, which were extremely fresh. They switch up their oysters depending on what’s in season, and the server explained to us the name and all, but I didn’t catch it.
They also offer $2 oysters during happy hour for their premium oysters. These were quite big, but they were still very sweet! The only issue I had was that one oyster or so had some shell bits in it. Always a sign of how good the shucker is.
Pan Seared Calamari
Their happy hour menu also features a selection of their ‘first bites’. They actually offer quite a large variety – so many that we ended up ordering almost the whole menu… Since it’s 50% off their regular price…why not? Well, first off, we started off with the Pan Seared Calamari. Like its name says, the calamari is seared rather than fried. These were actually really good though and a good alternative to the oily fried calamari. The squid had a nice char to it and was super tender! It came with a cucumber, mint and jalapeno salad with creme fraiche dressing and remoulade. That salad was a killer though as it was way too spicy!
Dungeness Crab Cakes
Next up were the Dungeness Crab Cakes with a lemon aioli and an avocado & cucumber salad in a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. They come with three pieces, so were perfect for us to share. These were pretty good although I wish they were slightly more seasoned. The lemon aioli helped bring more flavour for sure.
Fried Fanny Bay Oysters
And then there were the Fried Fanny Bay Oysters. These were parsley and cornmeal battered Fanny Bay oysters and came along with Chewies’ tartar sauce. I felt like these had more batter on it than the actual oyster. I was expecting more fatty oysters, but they were pretty small and felt rather overcooked. Not a huge fan of these.
Brioche Garlic Toast
The fried fanny bay oysters also come with the Brioche Garlic Toast, which were pretty delicious. Tastes just like your typical garlic bread with a nice crispy texture to it.
Since we’re at Chewies, might as well keep loading up with the oyster dishes… So we got the Oysters Rockefeller, which featured fresh hand shucked BC oysters, absinthe, spinach and herb puree, and topped with Parmesan cheese bread crumbs. An order came with 5 oysters and these were pretty good. The oysters were quite large and fatty and I loved the spinach and herb puree underneath. I still prefer the ones at Joe Fortes a bit more though.
All Dressed Cajun Fries
We also got the All Dressed Cajun Fries. At first, I was skeptical to order this, since I’m not a huge fries person and I can only imagine how much they can do with fries. However, this was beyond my expectations! It ended up being very simliar to a poutine, with Andouille sausage, fresh garlic, diced tomatoes, cheese curds, Parmesan and garlic mayo. The fries were crispy and sizzling in the pan. The sausage and seasoning gave it a slight kick, but nothing overwhelming. Definitely a great dish to share.
Crocs & Hush Puppies
Lastly, we got the Crocs & Hush Puppies, which we were all curious about. Yes – crocs meant fried crocodile! Well the menu acutally detailed it as “chicken fried crocodile,” so I’m not really sure if we were eating crocodile or not. The meat was definitely much more chewy, but I actually quite liked the texture. Hush puppies refer to these cornbread balls and these were nothing too special. The dish came with a house vinaigrette and some jalapeno jelly which definitely had a level of spice.
Overall, happy hour at Chewies definitely met my expectations. They have a good selection of dishes with 50% off, and most of them were good, if not really good. My favourites had got to be the calamari and fries. Their oysters are also extremely fresh and you can even upgrade to their premium! Ambiance is also really nice with high ceilings and a modern environment. Great patio during the summer as well. Service on the other hand was a bit of a hit and miss. Our last two dishes actually didn’t come for the longest time and we had to remind them to cook it up. The server at the end was pretty nice though and apologized for our wait. Oh and by the way, if you end up like us ordering pretty much the whole menu, your happy hour deal isn’t so happy after all since the bill will add up. But hey, at least we left with a full tummy!
– Fresh oysters for $1 or $2 during happy hour
– Good selection of dishes during happy hour for 50% off
– They forgot two of our dishes at the end
Price Range: $25-30
1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent
Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4