The chook rules

Leave a comment

katie1

 

Miss Katie’s at Rochester Hotel, 202 Johnston Street, Fitzroy. Phone: 9419 0166

Approaching the Rochester Hotel, my mind is full of dark thoughts.

When Consider The Sauce hit Miss Katie’s Crab Shack in its previous carnation in North Melbourne, the pervasive gloom wasn’t just a hindrance to photography – it also lessened the enjoyment of our food.

It was bit a like a food version of Dating In The Dark.

My heart sinks when I enter the bar area of the Rochester – it, too, is gloomy.

Exploring a bit further, my mood lightens when I discover the dining room “out the back” is considerably brighter.

 

katie10

 

My spirits veritably soar when I receive my bloody mary ($18) as I await my friends.

It’s sensational, delicious and worth every cent of the admission price.

 

katie3

 

Off we happily troop to the dining room to sort out or collective order.

We go two starters, two star-attraction mains and one light, vegetarian option.

 

katie9

 

Deep-dried pickles are, initially, a surprise as I have been expecting the heavily battered discs I’ve had in New Orleans.

But these lightly-battered spears are very good.

It seems as if the cooking process has lessened the vinegar factor, as they’re mild of sourness.

 

katie8

 

Crab dip is, well, very crabby.

And also very rich and yummy.

The accompanying bits and pieces -including biscuits that are more like cookies – fall a little short, however, of being substantial enough to handle all the pot of dip.

 

katie7

 

I go the seafood boil.

The basic price of $25 includes a blue swimmer crab, kransky pieces, chat spuds and corn.

From there, more crab – or oysters, clams, mussels or prawns – can be added for extra $.

I go with oysters for $10.

I get only three, bathing in seasoned butter, but they’re fabulous.

The hot-dog-style kransky pieces are a highlight.

I have a splendid time extracting sweet, delicate crab meat.

But here’s the rub – despite the high quality of its individual components, my dish is lacking a knockout punch.

I suspect that could only be had, under current arrangements, by adding a lot of extra seafood that would make it prohibitively pricey.

Which means …

 

katie5

 

 

… we reckon Miss Katie’s fried chicken ($24), which comes with either mash or waffles, is this establishment’s outstanding dish – and excellent value.

Yes, in a crab shack.

It’s a good thing, then, that one of my companions orders it.

It’s an even better thing that it is so very, very good and such a substantial portion that we all have a good taste.

The coating is light but wonderfully seasoned and the meat itself is perfect.

Could this be Melbourne’s fried chook champ? Or, more accurately, Melbourne’s non-Korean chook champ?

 

katie6

 

My other pal’s hasselback potatoes with jack cheese and slaw ($15) do the trick for him, though I suspect he’s very appreciative of the couple of chicken pieces that come his way.

 

katie4

 

Our finale – banana split ($12) – is enjoyable though a bit rich price-wise for an American-style fantasia that is little more than fluff.

Good stuff in a gloomy shack

3 Comments
katy6

 

Miss Katie’s Crab Shack, Public Bar, 238 Victoria Street, North Melbourne. Phone: 9329 9888

On our way to Fancy Hank’s BBQ the previous week, Bennie and I had stepped in to Miss Katie’s Crab Shack just for a look-see.

It was  a toss-up in terms of our desire for American-style tucker that night, so we kept on walking to the other.

As we did so, I remarked that the Shack’s aroma reminded me of nothing so much as a typical funky local joint in New Orleans – just that magic blend of frying food and seasonings.

So I am very happy to return with pals Nat and Rob to check the place out in more depth.

As we settle in, place our orders and relax into good company, it occurs to me that also in terms of decor, general all-round vibe and attentive, unfussy service, the Shack is like a Crescent City joint in more ways than just the smell.

It’s a cool place!

 

katy8

 

Unfortunately, it’s also utterly gloomy in a cheerful way – and a nightmare for “available light” photography. So take these CTS pics as an indication of only the very vaguest kind!

(An adjoining and more brightly-lit room is rapidly filling with a gang of retro-hipsters busily sharpening their minds up for Tuesday night trivia … Rob and I note that the questions are to be of topics on the “fun stuff” such as music, movies and TV, and ponder entering ourselves in the comp at some future date.)

 

katy4

 

Rob likes his Chesapeake Crab Burger with blue swimmer crab cake, slaw, herb mayo and dill pickle ($15) . I don’t have a taste, but merely note that he says it reminds him of a similar set-up his mum used to produce.

 

katy3

 

Nat’s jambalaya ($22) is a bit of a puzzle – for it is neither the rice dish of that name nor a gumbo, but something like a mixture of the two, soupy and with lots of rice and a couple of fat prawns among other bits and pieces.

He likes it. And based on the sample taste I grab, it certainly has the right, smoky and deep flavour.

 

katy5

 

My fried chicken is definitely the big winner.

For $17, I get seven pieces, including a couple of drumsticks, meaning there is more than enough to share some with my friends.

The coating is dark and full of curiously musty, lusty flavour – I endeavour to discover the nature of the seasonings, but quickly give it up when I realise the menu describes them as a “secret blend of herbs and spices”.

I reckon I’ve heard that phrase before … but the chook meat is all good, especially lightly dabbed with the piquant house-made sauce (only one of several sitting on each table).

It’s a fine thing to order and eat beaut fried chicken that is not Korean, Japanese or franchise.

The fries ($5 with the chicken) are merely good. The menu lists them as coming with “Old Bay seasoning” but we find there’s no discernible such flavour. Still, I’m once again happy there’s more than enough for all three of us.

 

katy7

 

We enjoy a couple of serves of house-baked corn bread ($3), but find its presence and sweetness mostly excess to our requirements.

Like Fancy Hank’s BBQ just up the road, Miss Katie’s Crab Shack does a fine job of providing hands-on southern-style-food. If you’re particularly hongry, it’ll cost ya – but the satisfaction factor is there.

Check out the Miss Katy’s Crab Shack website here.

 

katy10