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Chicken Fried Steak in Toronto?

Ok, I know this may sound like a strange one, it was to me anyway, until i tried it. Im pretty sure it can be found in all parts of the U.S but Ive never seen it here in Toronto. I could be wrong, but basically, you take the steak, pound it thin, coat it in a breading like the kind used for fried chicken, then you fry the steak.

When its browned nicely, you serve it and pour on some thick white gravy. I had it once as I was driving to Chicago, so im not sure if its a midwest thing, or if its popular as a comfort food across all the states. Im sure its probably not good for you(What comfort food really is?), but it would be nice to have it sometime, as I remember, it was delicious. I believe it was serve with mashed potatos and vegetables, with some fresh bread.

Damn it was good!

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  1. This was discussed in a previous thread:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/511320

    It's a Southern dish. My wife is from Alabama and prepares it at home. When we're on U.S. trips we'll usually order it at Cracker Barrel.

    From the old thread, in Toronto you'll find it served at Shanghai Cowgirl:
    http://shanghaicowgirl.com/menufronth...

    or you can find the nearest Perkins restaurant:
    http://www.perkinsrestaurants.com/loc...

    I've never been to either of these so can't comment on the quality.

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    Shanghai Cowgirl
    538 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

    3 Replies
    1. re: TexSquared

      Tex I was just trying to find my old thead and you beat me!

      The only place downtown I'm aware of to get it is Shanghai Cowgirl. It's a standard, well done version of the classic dish and hits the spot when I need a fix. I've had it about four times since posting that thread, sometimes it's better than others but has always been solid. I always order extra gravy as they just put a small pour on top. Cream gravy is rare in these parts and I like it smothered! It comes with mash and veggies.

      I find Shanghai's version much better than the Perkins or Denny's versions available in the burbs. Their's tastes like something that comes pre-breaded and frozen from a supplier and tossed in the fryer. More along the lines of a low grade processed chicken patty that happens to have beef inside. The Shanghai version is clearly hand breaded and seasoned before going into the fryer.

      There's complaints in the other thread about it being a low grade of meat but that's how I've always had it. My mom made it with cube steaks so it was designed to feed the family for not a lot of money.

      If you check it out let us know how it goes!

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      Shanghai Cowgirl
      538 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

      1. re: abigllama

        Shanghai cowgirl is not very good, you can't get chicken fried steak done well in Toronto, if anyone could do it it would be stockyards.

        1. re: Bobby Wham

          I went specifically to Shanghai Cowgirl to try the chicken fried steak. It was bad. Took forever to cook and it came out like a breaded piece of leather. Dry and tough to chew. Flavourless gravy.

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          Shanghai Cowgirl
          538 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

    2. A Chilis has opened up at the Colossus center in Woodbridge (Hwy. #7 & Weston). I have eaten there twice but never checked if they served Chicken Fried Steak; although I have ordered CFS at a Chillies in Portland sometime last decade.

      11 Replies
      1. re: BlueTeam

        Did that Chilis in Richmond Hill close?

        1. re: BlueTeam

          The Chili's in Woodbridge does not have Chicken Fried Steak on the menu. I've been to Chili's in both Alberta and Ontario and the menu seems slighty different than what's on the US version. However I can't remember seeing Chicken Fried Steak on a Chili's menu since the 80s so the Portland thing might have been regional or a promotional dish.

          1. re: abigllama

            Yeah I remember Chili's CFS as it was the waiting spot for me near the San Francisco report. I don't recall it being on the menu in Alberta and seems like its a no go in Ontario.

          2. re: BlueTeam

            I suspect that if Chili's serves a CFS it is a pre-battered frozen mess that gives the real thing a bad reputation. Cracker Barrel in the states does do a "made from scratch" version that is pretty darn good, but this is easy enough to do well at home. I wonder if TexSquared would reveal his wife's recipe for the gravy?

            1. re: South Carolina Girl

              gravy = easy = roux (oil from frying CFS + flour) + milk + salt/pepper

              1. re: bogie

                Hey, that's how I make mine too. I was just wondering if there was a difference in the Alabama style.

                1. re: South Carolina Girl

                  I think it's pretty much standard across the board.

                  This is a quintessential meat and three offering. Found all over in the south.

                  Usually a chop steak is used. Sometimes a ground beef patty but that's not "Correct."
                  Bread it like you would fried chicken. Cook and set aside. Make a white, milk or sawmill (depending on what you want to call it) gravy and serve over top with mash and green beans on the side. The last two make up two of my usual three sides.
                  Corn bread or dinner roll is usually served with it. I always go for dinner roll as it's great for sopping.
                  Here is a link to some pictures of one of the best CFS I've ever had.
                  http://tinyurl.com/237vcdg

                  One of the biggest things is, the batter needs to stay crispy under the gravy. Not an easy task.

                  I've never had it north of the Mason Dixon and don't really notice it on menus either.

                  DT

                  1. re: Davwud

                    It's a Texas/Oklahoma standard where it shows its Middle European ancestry by looking and tasting very schnitzel-y, especially as prepared in many Texas kitchens.
                    Nice dish I haven't enjoyed in years.

                    1. re: Davwud

                      Love the pics...I almost stopped at the Black eyed peas and collards. YUM. I wish I knew about Stan's when I was living in Little Rock. Nashville was just about half way to home to SC and I definitely would have detoured more than once for a meal at a place like that.
                      My mom always made CFS with cube steak; another product I haven't seen north of the MD line.

                      1. re: South Carolina Girl

                        You can cut this style of "steak" yourself from a larger piece of beef (it's just cut from part of the round, I think) then tenderize it beyond recognition.

                        1. re: South Carolina Girl

                          CUBE STEAK!!!

                          That's what I meant. I don't know where "Chop steak" came from. Unless the two terms are interchangeable and I just screwed up my terminology.

                          DT

                          PS, Puckett's Grocery and Bell Buckle Cafe are both outside Nashville and both have magnificent CFS. There is also a truck stop place called Iron Skillet that makes a damned good one too.

              2. I don't know if it's still on the menu, but when I last went to Southern Accent in the Annex they had it. I'd eaten this in Texas before, and while it obviously wasn't up to that standard, it was still pretty good. I'd advise checking there.

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                Southern Accent
                595 Markham St, Toronto, ON M6G2L7, CA