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November 3, 2006

Chaw-bacon Chew

Filed under: American Food,Japanese Food,Mr. Henry,Restaurant Reviews — Mr. Henry @ 10:04 am

Mr. Henry is not one to call names, casually hurl insults or take cheap shots.
His friend Michael, also a Southerner, took issue with Mr. Henry’s writing style saying, “Why don’t you come clean with your reading public and stop pretending to be this urbane New York sophisticate ? Out yourself as a true chaw-bacon, cousin-humpin’ cracker!”

Mr. Henry takes no umbrage. He feels, however, a twinge of envy at Michael’s fluent command of invective. Also, he has every confidence that even if not in mid-season form he could best Michael at tennis, golf, or bridge.

When Mr. Henry recently visited Jacksonville, Florida, however, he began to sputter and spit at the truly disgusting fare offered up as cuisine.

To be fair, it was not as bad as what Frances at the 87th Street dog run, having just returned from Dallas-Ft.Worth, confronted at the Texas State Fair. Is it really possible that in Texas they serve deep-fried Coca-Cola balls with fake whipped cream topping? (Yes, the Henry research team uncovered just such a monstrous concoction. First soak dough balls in Coca-Cola. Next………….no, please! Make it stop!)

Resize Assistant-1.jpgJacksonville may specialize in fried food, too, but this year Mr. Henry made a discovery that set him back on his big city heels – a brand new upscale eatery called “Chew” on an old block centrally located in the heart of Jacksonville’s languishing downtown. This is not Hooters. This is not Whitey’s Fish Camp, accessible only by motorboat, where every entrée is fried and served with a side of hush puppies. (At Whitey’s the specialty of the house is “cooter.” Opinions are divided on whether that is alligator tail or turtle).Resize Assistant-2.jpg

The staff at Chew do not speak with a southern accent. (The chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America.) The braised short ribs sandwich was a tender, rich and subtle creation that clearly took hours to prepare. Mr. Henry believes there is hope for America after all.


  1. At Whitey’s the specialty of the house is “cooter.”

    *coff* *splutter* Here in Northern New England a “cooter” means something entirely different. You can still eat one, but you probably shouldn’t do it in public.

    Comment by Bryan — November 3, 2006 @ 11:47 am

  2. Here in Indiana, “cooter” means the same thing as it does where Bryan is. And *snort* You’re right, eating one in public isn’t encouraged.

    However! I saw a segment on The Daily Show a while back talking about “cooter preservation” and it was about turtles. Small, biting turtles, but turtles nonetheless. And I believe they were on location in FL, so I’m inclined to believe that the “cooter” in question is a turtle.

    Comment by Cassie — November 3, 2006 @ 10:01 pm

  3. Cooters are indeed referring to turtle, and I must admit I am rather saddened by Mr Henry’s take on Jacksonville. I grew up not too far away, and I have to admit that i prefer Southern home-cooking to the most gourmet meal I’ve had in my life (the Tavern at the Greenbrier in WV). Jacksonville is far enough north to still be southern – it actually has real Floridians! – so why choose ‘gourmet’ instead of what you know would be good?

    Comment by disappointed — November 7, 2006 @ 5:38 pm

  4. I’m appallled at your “friend” Michael’s attempt to out you as a “chaw-bacon, cousin’humpin cracker..” Is he enough of a gentleman to accept your challenge at tennis, golf or bridge ? Really !!!

    Comment by Allen Rosenbaum — December 11, 2006 @ 4:21 pm

  5. I have been misquoted. I actually identified Mr. Henry as a “drooling” chaw-bacon. I don’t play bridge, tried golf but didn’t like it, and concede that Mr. Henry could take me at tennis with one cousin-restraining hand behind him. I would be more confident in contests of throwing cards at a hat or stacking beer bottle caps.

    Comment by Michael — December 18, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

  6. Dear Michael

    Mr. Henry is relieved to hear that a contest of fisticuffs is not among the suggested remedies to this rivalry, because Mr. Henry uderstands that Michael fights by Queen of Marksbury’s Rules, a Kentucky interpretation of the more standard set.

    Comment by Mr. Henry — December 18, 2006 @ 2:19 pm

  7. Do I detect a whiff of trailer park. This is not what I’ve come t0 expect from readers of Mr. Henry.

    Comment by Allen Rosenbaum — December 18, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

  8. Mr. Henry, if you really are a Southerner, you ought to know that all true Southern food comes from South Louisiana. Cajun spices perfect the deep-frying.

    Comment by Kathryn — December 29, 2006 @ 11:48 am

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