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Chuck's Southern Cooking Cafe

Chuck's Southern Cooking Cafe
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  • Post #61 - August 5th, 2008, 1:25 pm
    Post #61 - August 5th, 2008, 1:25 pm Post #61 - August 5th, 2008, 1:25 pm
    Back from lunch, Ill try to be as gentle as possible with my review of this board favorite.

    Mixed results:

    The Bowl of Red was excellent. The flavor was bold, and the different texture of the tortilla strips made this cup of chili great. The Cilantro was a nice touch, and the sour cream, and cheese added to the overall dish. Very good. I would be interested in trying his seafood gumbo, since his soups(brunswick stew), and chili have been winners on my 2 visits.

    The Cajun Blackened Ribeye..., not very good, I asked for medium rare, and got well done, and the piece of meat was pretty small, and relatively fatty, even for a ribeye ( I have a short window for lunch, otherwise I would have sent it back). The etoufee..., a beautiful dark brown color, and great texture, decent tasting to start, but with a slightly bitter aftertaste. I am not sure what a baked potato is doing being offered with this dish, a side of rice would be more appropriate.

    I make cajun food alot at home(made andoullie & chicken gumbo this weekend as a matter of fact with a roux that took over 30 minutes to get the right color), we also have a great cajun spot out by my house. I have had/made better etoufee's

    The cup of chili, and the ribeye cost me $16. Kind of steep for what I got(I am actually still hungry).

    I dont know if I will give Chuck's a 3rd chance to try his Mexican offerings. I stated above I really wanted to like this place since I only have a couple of GNR's near my work close enough for lunch(Lao Sze Chuan, Katy's, & Fabulous Noodles), but I cant eat Chinese food every day, so another option would have been great. Dont shoot the messenger, it is just one persons opinion.
    Last edited by jimswside on August 5th, 2008, 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



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  • Post #62 - August 5th, 2008, 1:49 pm
    Post #62 - August 5th, 2008, 1:49 pm Post #62 - August 5th, 2008, 1:49 pm
    Jim,
    What's the name of the Cajun place you like by your house?
    I love animals...they're delicious!
  • Post #63 - August 5th, 2008, 1:51 pm
    Post #63 - August 5th, 2008, 1:51 pm Post #63 - August 5th, 2008, 1:51 pm
    stewed coot wrote:Jim,
    What's the name of the Cajun place you like by your house?


    Cajun Connection, Utica, IL.

    www.ronscajunconnection.com
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



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  • Post #64 - August 7th, 2008, 10:40 am
    Post #64 - August 7th, 2008, 10:40 am Post #64 - August 7th, 2008, 10:40 am
    jimswside wrote:I make cajun food alot at home(made andoullie & chicken gumbo this weekend as a matter of fact with a roux that took over 30 minutes to get the right color)


    Don't know how much of a purist you are, but I've found that the microwave works really well for making roux. Google "microwave roux" to find the technique. It cuts down roux-making time by 75% or more, and, although I've never done a side-by-side, I can't tell the difference between microwaved roux and roux that's been cooked on the stovetop. IT's one of the few things I use my microwave for other than reheating.
  • Post #65 - August 7th, 2008, 10:47 am
    Post #65 - August 7th, 2008, 10:47 am Post #65 - August 7th, 2008, 10:47 am
    Binko wrote:
    jimswside wrote:I make cajun food alot at home(made andoullie & chicken gumbo this weekend as a matter of fact with a roux that took over 30 minutes to get the right color)


    Don't know how much of a purist you are, but I've found that the microwave works really well for making roux. Google "microwave roux" to find the technique. It cuts down roux-making time by 75% or more, and, although I've never done a side-by-side, I can't tell the difference between microwaved roux and roux that's been cooked on the stovetop. IT's one of the few things I use my microwave for other than reheating.


    Interesting, I have never heard of a microwave method. however, I do enjoy stirring the hot bubbly roux, smelling the nutiness it gives off as it turns from white to a chocolate color after about 30 mins of constant stirring.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #66 - October 31st, 2009, 8:30 pm
    Post #66 - October 31st, 2009, 8:30 pm Post #66 - October 31st, 2009, 8:30 pm
    at at chuck's bbq tonite, my wife had the fish special, citrus,hawaiian ono with seasoned rice. outstanding. i had bbq combo ribs & hot links with sea salt crusted bake potato, great as well. chuck's is at his new loction 6501 w 79 st. 708-229-8700. hit the voodoo lounge for a tempelton also. cheers
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #67 - October 31st, 2009, 11:29 pm
    Post #67 - October 31st, 2009, 11:29 pm Post #67 - October 31st, 2009, 11:29 pm
    The first time I went to Chuck's, I had heard that it was a great BBQ spot, so I ordered a brisket sandwich (my standard tester for BBQ). When the said sandwich arrived I was miffed that it was more like a cheesesteak and had no identifiable smokey quality. Then I started to eat it. It was, for sure, one of my favorite sandwiches in the city. I asked the waitress which sandwich I had mistakenly been brought so I could order it again next time only to find it was the BBQ brisket sandwich. A strange situation to say the least. I LOVE that sandwich, but the place looses some points as a BBQ. For what it's worth.
  • Post #68 - November 1st, 2009, 3:42 am
    Post #68 - November 1st, 2009, 3:42 am Post #68 - November 1st, 2009, 3:42 am
    The jerk wings were phenomenal, even without the dipping sauce! After eating most of them, I finally got around to trying the sauce. The result: an appetizer amongst the clouds ascended even higher and went into the stratosphere!
  • Post #69 - February 16th, 2010, 3:52 pm
    Post #69 - February 16th, 2010, 3:52 pm Post #69 - February 16th, 2010, 3:52 pm
    I was just at Chuck's Cafe and Voodoo Lounge on Saturday for his annual Mardi Gras bash, and I have to tell you, the buffet was wonderful and the band was flyin' (Morry Sochat and The Special 20s -- great swing and blues band)!. Excellent duck gumbo, and I cannot say enough about the shrimp and andouille sausage enchiladas -- all spicy and creamy-cheesy inside. Tasty!!! Drinks are typically fine here. Even decent Hurricanes, though I only drink them a few times a year. But surprisingly, a night that would have gone on long past the 2am closing time downtown or on the North Side started to wind down Saturday about midnight, when a lot of people departed an otherwise jumpin' party (hey, they roll up the sidewalks at 8 o'clock down here most nights -- sheeesh! That's the SW suburbs for you). Go figure. But given that, at least during the third set the band stopped playing so much 'crowd-pleasing' stuff and got down to the nitty-gritty blues and jump that they really wanted to play -- and my pal and I stayed to listen and close the place down. Not sorry 'bout that! 8)

    Lest you think I did this just 'cause it was Mardi Gras, when I woke up next morn and decided I didn't want to cook, I headed back there for breakfast (they were DELUGED, and I ended up eating in the Voodoo Lounge, which isn't customary for breakfast). I just figured that instead of paying about the same elsewhere for breakfast, I'd go back to Chuck's instead for the Bananas Foster stuffed French toast, the thick-cut bacon, and the cafe olla (French press, Mexican style -- love it). And was very satisfied. Sigh! :D

    My waistline is suffering enough from this to verify it.

    Y'all need to come down to the new place and check it out (Chuck's moved several blocks west last summer to 1 block west of Ridgeland, still on 79th in Burbank). BTW, Chuck also told me he now has a traveling smoker that can handle BBQ parties of up to 500, which I believe because every August he does a big outdoor party weekend at a nearby church parking lot and needs something that big; it's like his equivalent of a summer grill-party/mardi gras hybrid in big tents, with live music. Not trying to shill here, but I find myself going back to Chuck's an average of twice a month now 'cause I can't seem to stay away from the daily specials, baby backs, and pulled pork ... enough said.

    webdiva


    What is life without Tahitian-vanilla-scented caramel eclairs?
  • Post #70 - February 16th, 2010, 8:53 pm
    Post #70 - February 16th, 2010, 8:53 pm Post #70 - February 16th, 2010, 8:53 pm
    i like it all at chuck's . i 'm probably 4/5 times a month
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #71 - February 17th, 2010, 6:52 am
    Post #71 - February 17th, 2010, 6:52 am Post #71 - February 17th, 2010, 6:52 am
    I'll be going there for the first time in about a week. What have you had there recently that's really good?
  • Post #72 - February 17th, 2010, 7:18 am
    Post #72 - February 17th, 2010, 7:18 am Post #72 - February 17th, 2010, 7:18 am
    seafood gumbo &brunswick stew are tops. i do like the wings,crab cakes are great. the only bbq i don't care for is the brisket. it is cut to thin.
    most of the specical are great fish, chicken ect.
    anything with the pigs head next to it is good . i have not had a bad meal there . :mrgreen:
    the bands have been great
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #73 - February 18th, 2010, 1:49 pm
    Post #73 - February 18th, 2010, 1:49 pm Post #73 - February 18th, 2010, 1:49 pm
    We are regulars at Chuck's, sometimes going back two days in a row if we find something on the specials menu that appeals to us. :oops:

    Since it first appeared regularly on the menu, we have been telling ourselves that we should really go and try the smoked corned beef. Chuck offers this as a special on the 17th of each month. I'm assuming this is the same corned beef Chuck uses in his breakfast corned beef hash, which is in itself is pretty spectacular. As yesterday was Ash Wednesday and I have a vegetarian daughter, we thought it would be a good opportunity for everyone to get an entree they would be happy with.

    Both my husband and I ordered the smoked corned beef dinner, which came with carrots, red potatoes, braised cabbage (with bacon!) and a thick slice of rye bread. We were not disappointed. The dinner was outstanding and at $11.50, a real bargain. My daughter opted for a baked macaroni and cheese entree featuring four kinds of cheese and a house salad. She ate every bite.

    It's difficult now for us to eat there as a family since Chuck has such a limited number of meatless entrees on his menu (count one -- the portabella sandwich). I anticipate we will be making a lot of trips there on Fridays during Lent so my daughter can pick and choose different entrees.

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #74 - March 2nd, 2010, 8:19 pm
    Post #74 - March 2nd, 2010, 8:19 pm Post #74 - March 2nd, 2010, 8:19 pm
    stopped at chuck's (voodoo) tonight ,had a T rye & jerk wings at the bar .
    dinner to go home
    fideos al camaron :mrgreen: & cochinita pibil :mrgreen:

    wings could have been a little crispper , but it all was great meal
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #75 - April 19th, 2010, 2:28 pm
    Post #75 - April 19th, 2010, 2:28 pm Post #75 - April 19th, 2010, 2:28 pm
    philw wrote:stopped at chuck's (voodoo) tonight ,had a T rye & jerk wings at the bar .
    dinner to go home
    fideos al camaron :mrgreen: & cochinita pibil :mrgreen:

    wings could have been a little crispper , but it all was great meal

    Dunno about the jerk wings, but when I take a batch of the Chicago wings home, I ask for them dry with the sauce on the side, then warm up both briefly at home (wings in a toaster oven on a disposable broiler pan) before combining them. Yum! But obviously, both kinds are best eaten fresh.

    I like the barbecued shrimp, too, but they need a better class of French bread there: not crispy enough on the outside, too soft on the inside (although Southerners and Kansas City folks would probably go for that if they like wonder bread with their BBQ). When I get the shrimp delivered, I douse 'em liberally with fresh lemon and mop up the sauce with a slice of barely toasted La Brea sesame semolina bread -- awwwww, gosh that's good.

    In fact, I'm hard pressed to think of something I don't like at Chuck's, other than the brisket someone else mentioned, but that's just 'cause I like the ribs and pulled pork bettah -- ! If that man ever stops cooking, I'm in deep trouble.


    What is life without Tahitian-vanilla-scented caramel eclairs?
  • Post #76 - April 19th, 2010, 2:44 pm
    Post #76 - April 19th, 2010, 2:44 pm Post #76 - April 19th, 2010, 2:44 pm
    for me the brisket is sliced to thin, way to thin
    my 2 cents it needs to be about 1/4 inch or 3/8 thick
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #77 - April 19th, 2010, 3:16 pm
    Post #77 - April 19th, 2010, 3:16 pm Post #77 - April 19th, 2010, 3:16 pm
    philw wrote:my 2 cents it needs to be about 1/4 inch or 3/8 thick

    So tell the guy, already -- my experience is that as long as you're serious about food, Chuck takes most comments kindly.
  • Post #78 - April 21st, 2010, 8:11 pm
    Post #78 - April 21st, 2010, 8:11 pm Post #78 - April 21st, 2010, 8:11 pm
    Curious for those who have been to both outlets -- what do you all think of the new expanded space? I personally preferred the lunch-time counter service of the old space and felt that this new, huge space doesn't have the same feel. To make up for this, when my hubby and I go for lunch, we usually sit in the VooDoo lounge, which is somewhat reminscent of the old location.

    I am glad to report that the few times I've been since they've moved, the food is still spot-on, and last time we were there, Chuck delivered our food to us. If you go, definitely get the Chuck's Red. I always get the Red and slather on some extra Cholula, though you actually have to ask them for it now! I generally order off the specials and do well - for instance, the last time I was in, he had a lamb stew that was unbelievable in a portion that would have fed a family of four. I love all the Mexican / Yucatecan specials, he usually rotates from month to month between cajun & Mexican dishes on the specials menu. On the regular menu, if nothing else, I usually order the chicken enchiladas which come in a brown mole sauce - always, always consisently great.

    Meeting the DH for lunch tomorrow, so I think I know where we'll end up going...
    -- Nora --
    "Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want." ~Gael Greene
  • Post #79 - April 22nd, 2010, 5:37 am
    Post #79 - April 22nd, 2010, 5:37 am Post #79 - April 22nd, 2010, 5:37 am
    for lunch&dinner i always sit in the voodoo
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #80 - April 25th, 2010, 8:42 pm
    Post #80 - April 25th, 2010, 8:42 pm Post #80 - April 25th, 2010, 8:42 pm
    Nora,

    I like the new space there a lot, and the food is still wonderful. I agree, the month leading up to Cinqo de Mayo is the best time of year to go because of the mexican specials. I went friday night and had an amazing rack of lamb in a honey adobo sauce on the special. I still think that his smoked corned beef sandwich is hands down the best sandwich in the Chicago area, and doesn't get nearly the love it should.

    Glenn
  • Post #81 - April 25th, 2010, 8:47 pm
    Post #81 - April 25th, 2010, 8:47 pm Post #81 - April 25th, 2010, 8:47 pm
    Terrible experience. Never going back. First all of our soups were served COLD. Dinners came out and wife's enchiladas were COLD. As if it was in the fridge! Unacceptable. My son's Jamblalaya was spanish rice with a ladle of sauce on it. Terrible. I had catfish which was serviceable. We are not picky diners but the quality level was horrible.
    Never going back
  • Post #82 - April 26th, 2010, 10:08 pm
    Post #82 - April 26th, 2010, 10:08 pm Post #82 - April 26th, 2010, 10:08 pm
    Wow! I'm so sorry you had such an awful experience. I used to go there at least 2-3 times a week and never had such an experience. I haven't spent as much time in the new space, but I find that very unusual, as even in the new location, I've never had a bad meal.

    glennpan: I'm definitely looking forward to the May specials, as his Mexican dishes generally tend to be my favorites. Planning a few trips there in the upcoming weeks, I think...
    -- Nora --
    "Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want." ~Gael Greene
  • Post #83 - April 26th, 2010, 11:43 pm
    Post #83 - April 26th, 2010, 11:43 pm Post #83 - April 26th, 2010, 11:43 pm
    Hello all.
    Haven't posted much here, but I have to say this about Chucks....

    1....Used to work not far from the original location. Ordered
    lunch for carry-out quite a bit. Overall, food was good.
    Except I can attest to the 'cold', or so so warm food being served.

    2....I have ordered more than 7-10, (out of 50 or so) catfish or shrimp poor boy
    sammies, where the romain lettuce was sandy and not good crunchy.
    As in not very well washed, rinsed lettuce.

    3....I agree about the smoking. Not much of a smoke ring going on here.
    And yes, I smoke at home using an el-cheapo Chargriller, burning
    lump and cherry wood, and always get a nice ring on all things smoked.

    In my opinion, ( which doesn't count for much), if a place can not
    rinse off lettuce well, on more then 1 occasion, what does that tell you?
    Understaffed ???
    Cutting corners???
    I'm not totally bashing Chucks, but dam, something as basic
    as clean lettuce?
  • Post #84 - May 1st, 2010, 10:00 pm
    Post #84 - May 1st, 2010, 10:00 pm Post #84 - May 1st, 2010, 10:00 pm
    I caught an earlier flight home on Thursday and when I landed at Midway I had an email which required immediate attention. So instead of driving home, I went and had a late lunch / early dinner (it was 4pm) at Chuck's. A bowl of the charro bean soup was good, as was the coconut-banana creme pie for dessert. But the star of the meal was the "appetizer" sized special of three stuffed chilis, one with a vegetable filling, one with a chorizo and potato based filling, and one with a ground meat (I think beef, not sure) based filling. All different spice levels, all outstanding. It was listed as a $9 appetizer, but was enough to be a full entree.

    The new location is "interesting" - for some reason the outside and the building layout reminds me of a funeral home. But I feel more comfortable lingering here and getting some work done, and since I'm usually at Chucks 5-6 times a year at some oddball time like 4pm Thursday, this is a good thing. If I lived closer than 20 miles away, I'd stop in and try the lounge some evening.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #85 - June 29th, 2010, 10:22 am
    Post #85 - June 29th, 2010, 10:22 am Post #85 - June 29th, 2010, 10:22 am
    threadkiller wrote: The new location is "interesting" - for some reason the outside and the building layout reminds me of a funeral home.


    It used to be a banquet hall. I believe it was called Rose's Banquets.
  • Post #86 - June 29th, 2010, 11:36 am
    Post #86 - June 29th, 2010, 11:36 am Post #86 - June 29th, 2010, 11:36 am
    yes that was it & a bar champs after that
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #87 - July 12th, 2010, 11:05 pm
    Post #87 - July 12th, 2010, 11:05 pm Post #87 - July 12th, 2010, 11:05 pm
    I have been going to Chuck's since it was an order counter, with a few tables. I have never had a bad meal, always outstanding. We have had the food delivered to our house at least 30x over the years, with only minimal incidence as with any take out. What I can say is really good is the breakfast, it is unreal. Love Chuck, a great guy who still is not too proud to bring food out to the table.
    Life is short, Eternity is forever!!
  • Post #88 - July 16th, 2010, 9:42 pm
    Post #88 - July 16th, 2010, 9:42 pm Post #88 - July 16th, 2010, 9:42 pm
    I had my first truly uneven dish at Chuck's on Monday night - a curry Chicken with a Paul Prudhomme based recipe. The rice and curry sauce was tasty, but the sliced chicken breast on top was basically an afterthought.

    But I find myself going there more frequently in their new location. As a single diner, diverting over in on my way home from work or when I get back from Midway around dinnertime once every 2-3 weeks is much friendlier in the new location, since I can eat at the bar before the evening entertainment and not feel like I'm taking up a table by lingering. I can get out of there for $16-$18 after tip depending on what I order.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #89 - August 5th, 2010, 10:20 pm
    Post #89 - August 5th, 2010, 10:20 pm Post #89 - August 5th, 2010, 10:20 pm
    had agreat meal at chuck's tonight.
    fried catfish dinner :mrgreen:
    ribs, shrimp porboy
    shared it all , all great meals
    chucks fest sept. 10 ,11, 12 th
    at toyota park 71st & harlem ave
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #90 - February 24th, 2011, 6:07 pm
    Post #90 - February 24th, 2011, 6:07 pm Post #90 - February 24th, 2011, 6:07 pm
    For some reason, I have found myself at Chuck's a lot this winter. Done their breakfast (Frontera eggs), St. Patrick's day special (delightful corned beef, cabbage and potatoes) and most recently their seafood jambalaya which was to die for - perfectly cooked and tasty shrimp and crawfish decorating a berm of rice that would have made me die happy on its own.

    Had a couple of fancy cocktails that were train wrecks OTOH - the most memorable being a Key Lime Margarita that the Bride ordered (twice) for her birthday. Mmmm, creamy and limey, and ecccch.

    But I have always loved Chuck's for his Cajun and Mexican food. And the Bride has always loved his pulled pork despite my insistence that it was far from anything special, and often not very good. But I had sampled someone else's barbecue on a recent visit, and then the Bride's pulled pork last week, and it had surprised me both times, in a good way. More flavor, not the pool of liquid I have hated in the past, and particularly more crunchy bits, better smoke. I could still do without the bath of sauce they give the pork, but even that was caramelized a bit this time, almost enjoyable. And the ribs, rib tips and hot links I had tried on a previous visit were also respectable.

    So I went looking for Chuck and asked what had changed. He admitted that a visit to Smoque had caused him to reconsider their barbecue offerings and change their processes. Rather than cooking all the Q early that day or the night before and then reheating it as the day went on, they were now smoking 3-4 times a day, and only when the supply runs low. And he now accepts that it is okay, even preferable, to run out at times in order to guarantee fresh Q. I could see this pains him, but he is working through that.

    So I am posting this as an upgrade alert - Chuck's barbecue is looking up. All is not perfect, however. On a breakfast visit, a friend who fancies his Q asked for an order of the brisket, normally shredded up into the Machacado, on the side. Out came a nice little plate of slices that had been cooked at least the previous night, and while they still had some flavor were doing their best imitation of smoky rubber. To be honest, this was not ordered off the menu, and only served to us after we did a little convincing so this criticism is unfair - just consider it a heads up, only get the brisket in the Machacado in the morning.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy

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