I recently had my 8th anniversary with New York. Meaning, I’ve been lucky enough to call this place home for the past 8 years. Each year, I usually remember the date, do something pretty lame – like go to work and tweet that I’m one year closer to being an actual “New Yorker.” That didn’t happen this year. I actually forgot about the anniversary and I wasn’t even in the city – I was traveling to Washington, DC for work. So the day, which had up until this year been a sort-of big deal (or at least a thought in my mind that takes up a small amount of time), passed without a thought or a tweet.
Before I moved to the city, like many early 20-something girls, I watched every single episode of Sex and the City. I had many amazing dreams for what my New York life would be like. Lots of shoes, fabulous clubs, and amazing restaurant openings that I would of course be invited to.
Fast forward 8 years…well, I do have a lot of shoes. But I have lately been more drawn to my comfy flats than my sky-high heels. Clubs? Ha! I may have frequented a handful of clubs at first moving to the city. Now? A rockin Friday night involves me, a bottle of wine, and my favorite Thai or sushi dinner. Real, real rowdy. As for amazing restaurant openings…well I wasn’t at THE opening of Sweet Chick on the Lower East Side, but I was there 2 weeks later and kind of know the general manager. So that’s pretty close right?
Actually, it was pretty awesome. One of the first people I was friends with in the city is now heading up this hipster chicken and waffles mini-chain in NYC (first location was in Brooklyn, of course) and now the latest just opened on the Lower East Side. They don’t take reservations – but when dinner club came around and our host for the month asked this old friend, we were totally hooked up. At first I was completely uninterested. What would I be able to eat at a place known for all it’s different types of chicken and waffles? One look at the menu online though, and I saw “vegetarian chicken available!” and an entree for faux meatloaf. It was too good to be true.
The restaurant itself has a great vibe – hipster yet hip hop and somehow southern shabby rustic chic. Yeah – it’s a lot to pull off. But they did it flawlessly. The menu is filled with references you might not get unless you’re into 90s rap – the Christopher Wallace, for example – is one of their drinks. As is purple drank. No, that’s not a typo.
Now I have to admit, I was having too much fun to check with the waitress on everything we ordered. There are moments in life where being 100% strictly vegan is hard and I really wanted to take a minute and enjoy our dinner club, celebrate our friend’s opening, and just be. So I doubt that the waffles I consumed were vegan, but if I slip up every once in a blue moon, I try not to come down too hard on myself. We all need a bit of flexibility in life, so at times I take that.
We started with a couple apps for the table – one of the best was this amazing salad they had on special that night. It was a farmer’s market salad with figs and some sort of raspberry or strawberry vinaigrette. It was really delicious. And believe me, I know salad.
We also shared a delicious fried green tomato salad which was heavenly. Crispy and not soggy, it was a really great dish that was big enough for our group to pass around for taste-testing purposes and still have some leftover for this sole veggie eater at the table.
For the entree, I couldn’t help but go with the vegetarian chicken and waffles. One of the really cool aspects of the menu was the fact that there’s not just one kind of chicken or one kind of waffle. There was hot and sweet fried chicken, an Indian inspired chicken, and of course just straightforward fried chicken. The waffles followed suit. You had your pick of bacon and cheddar waffles, rosemary and mushroom waffles, etc. the list is much longer than I have the patience to write or you to read. I opted for the rosemary and mushroom and couldn’t have been more pleased with my choice.
The portion was huge – as should have been expected by the size of the appetizers. I did the dinner club proud by scarfing down half of it in this sitting, and the other half in my underwear from my couch the next night. What can I say? It was pretty darn delicious. Moral of the story – if you end up on the Lower East Side with a craving for great food, awesome playlists and some 90s rap meets 2014 hipster, you simply must check out Sweet Chick. I loved it. You will too. Or who knows, maybe it was all a dream.