HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Are you making a specialty food? Tell us about it
TELL US

The Chickery - Spadina South of Richmond (David Adjey's new casual spot)

y
ylsf May 17, 2012 10:27 AM

Curious, prices are high but how is the taste?

http://www.thechickery.com/

Anyone tried them? Worth giving a shot if in the area or avoid?
It is a casual rotisserie chicken spot.

  1. e
    EverymanJack Sep 23, 2012 08:43 PM

    In August I had my first "cottage" experience, staying an impressive house overlooking Lake Huron near the Michigan border. We drank unbelievable bottles of wine from the host's wine cellar each night, feasted on local produce and meats, then woke up to brilliant sunrises.

    One couple brought their kids, with whom I played with in the lake each day, and one night in the crashing waves more closely akin to what one would find in the Pacific than a mere "great" lake. They loved to be tossed as far and as high as possible, and of course riding on our shoulders. At one point myself and another house guest were tossing a young boy into the lake when a wave crashed into him mid-toss (he loved it). His brother saw and ran into the lake yelling, "epic fail!" That is exactly what I would call The Chickery.

    First, a statement on celebrity chefs. I have nothing against them. There seems to be a push back against their popularity lately, a worry that they are more worried about their image than the quality and value presented by their restaurant(s). I don't care. I judge the dining experience separately from the individual proprietor/chef him or herself. In fact, I would love the Chickery to be good. I try to (1) eat ethically and (2) limit my consumption of carbohydrates. A chicken restaurant with ethical chicken and several vegetable sides would be perfect.

    So, please understand my full meaning when I say that my experience with the Chickery was across-the-board awful.

    I went in there around seven at night in August. I had one of the wagjag vouchers which I think brought the $30 chicken and four sides down to $18. I figured, as mentioned in a post above, a humanely raised chicken dinner could be worth $30. It would surely be worth $18, right?

    I'll begin with the sides:

    Squash puree: I hesitated because it seemed hardly seasonable. But it was clearly healthy. In fact it was mealy and bland.

    Baked beans: The laziest offering of the night. The beans were hard and undercooked. I can't fathom how baked beans, which are by their very cooking process twice cooked, could be undercooked.

    Collard greens: The de facto highlight of the meal. Not as vinegary as I like my greens (I'm from the South of the US) but they had the bright bitter collard green flavor. More or less the bare minimum.

    Mac and Cheese: This was a joke. The noodles were in some kind of bechamel sauce, but there was no cheese. None. I kept waiting for some kind of cheese kick; it was not there. I could not visually identify any cheese either.

    The chicken itself: It was juicy and fairly substantial. However, it was made of salt. I brought my girlfriend a taste and she agreed. To her, it was inedible. I, as a matter of principle, finished it the next night. I think it was probably brined, but not rinsed properly.

    This may have just been an off day for the Chickery. Indeed, the service was a little off. The register guy actively tried to dissuade me from getting french fries. I suspect they didn't want to fire up the fryer. But that makes it difficult to account for the broad incompetence and lack of quality.

    Overall, my recommendation based on the high prices and low quality is: avoid this joint. It's too bad, because the concept was promising.

     
     
     
    1. pinstripeprincess Sep 12, 2012 04:38 PM

      used a coupon to nab the dinner w/ 4 sides. i think weekdays it's a lot quieter and others were reporting back that there were no lines. i barely waited 5 minutes for them to pack everything up for me.

      the flavour of the roast chicken is nice but it's confined to the skin. the meat is a bit dry as well but manageable with the sauces. what surprised me was how delicious the potato salad was. it's got big chunks of pickled and a bit of egg and is quite well seasoned. Good tang, good dill hit, good level of creaminess in the texture. i still really like the buttermilk dipping sauce but it's toned down in the lemony flavour i recall from before. the plum sauce is a bit spicy and really unexpected but in the best way possible. still think the slaw is pretty great with it's "asian" flavours.

      i wouldn't recommend the steamed squash just because it's so thinned out and a bit starchy for my liking and the collard greens need a desperate dash of seasoning and even a touch of oil.

      it's a bit unfortunate, the main star of the meal really didn't pass muster but there were definitely some highlights in the sides.

      1. y
        ylsf Sep 11, 2012 10:19 AM

        Hmm. I thought I posted to this last night, anyway, I ended up going last night and I actually really enjoyed my meal. The chicken was juicy/not dry, service was really friendly (despite them being swamped with orders because everyone was redeeming vouchers that expire in a few days). It is hard for me to judge "value" because I had a voucher than gave me a chicken, 4 sides, 2 dipping sauces all for $18 all in (including tax). So, between a friend and I we split everything and for 9$ each it was way more than enough to get full on.

        We had the collard greens, steamed squash, fries and mac/cheese.

        I agree about the "plate" comments. They are weird stainless things that are too small. But, we asked for extra plates and were given them with a smile. I will post up some pics when I get a chance.

        I don't know how often I will go back at "normal" price and maybe I will skip the rest of the menu based on what people have said here but I will probably try them again.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ylsf
          justxpete Sep 11, 2012 12:19 PM

          Funny, I tried to go there last night. Before I went, I called. The guy asked if i had a voucher. I said no (nor do I have any idea what he's referring to or what the implications are). He said "ok, we close at 8:30". The time is about 7:30. So I say, i'll be there in 10!". We get there in 10 minutes. I walk up and he says "we sold out of chicken". And I'm like "are you kidding me? I just spoke to you on the phone!?!?!" and he says "yeah, we just ran out" - so I say to him "you know, shouldn't you have warned me or something?" He stairs blankly back at me - so there are chickens in behind him - and I say "what about those?" And he says "oh, those are sold - people have been waiting 30 minutes for them." So what the hell? I call and say that I'll be there in 10 minutes, and this guy doesn't think it pertinent to warn me that he either sold out 30 minutes ago, or has 1 or two chickens left, after telling him that I'd be there in 10 minutes??? Unbelievable. And he should have known he'd run out by 8:30, only giving him more reason and as a reminder that he would be sold out far before then.

          Anyway - I was completely flabbergasted. I couldn't believe it. Then he's like "we still have chicken fingers?" I won't tell you the next thought that went through my mind was...

          1. re: justxpete
            justsayn Sep 11, 2012 12:31 PM

            It's really too bad it played out that way. It actually sounds like he was doing his best to fulfill the coupon obligations over and above those paying full price. Many places would do the opposite. So while he handled it so terribly, it does sound like his intentions were honourable. I bet they got slammed beyond expectation by people waiting til the last days to cash in their vouchers. I know you even called 10 minutes prior...but that's my two cents.

            1. re: justsayn
              b
              Benniep Sep 11, 2012 02:21 PM

              I went in last night around 7, was told it was a 30minute wait and left.
              Just didn't seem worth it.
              That, coupled with the piece of undercooked chicken my co-worker got from them (opening week) and the oft putting exchange I had with Adjey the other time I walked in there and i won't be back.
              Too bad because their product is right up my alley and i work in the area.

              1. re: justsayn
                justxpete Sep 23, 2012 09:55 PM

                You're making a lot of assumptions on what his intentions were - given how incompetent he was, I doubt honourable intentions had anything to do with it.

          2. y
            ylsf Sep 10, 2012 07:43 AM

            Anyone been to the Chickery lately? Did they work out their kinks? I bought a voucher from a past deal offering. Going to go this week (maybe tonight) to use it since around for TIFF.
            Recs for sides?

            2 Replies
            1. re: ylsf
              a
              air621 Sep 10, 2012 10:40 AM

              I went there for lunch in July. I was thoroughly unimpressed. The chicken sandwich was okay, nothing special about it and on the bland side. The coleslaw was bland as well. My party of four wasn't happy with the lunch based on quality vs. price. Adjay did walk in and stood around getting in his workers' way, which I thought was odd. Definitely never going back there.

              1. re: air621
                kwass Sep 10, 2012 06:36 PM

                I had the same disappointing experience as air621. When I went, I had the chicken fingers and fries. The chicken fingers had potential, but they weren't seasoned, so they were incredibly bland. As for the fries, no better than the fries that you'd find @ any fast food joint. I too, would not go back.

            2. f
              fredster1 Jun 18, 2012 07:21 PM

              The chicken experts in Toronto are Portuguese: Sardinha and Bairrada are my favourites. The Chickery does not really inspire me....

              4 Replies
              1. re: fredster1
                justsayn Jun 18, 2012 08:18 PM

                In my experience....time and time again - Sardinha is dried out but tasty. Is the trick that one is supposed to douse the chicken in piri piri sauce to give it moisture? I prefer when chicken is just naturally moist, but maybe I have been missing out on saucy chicken.

                1. re: justsayn
                  d
                  dcArtisan Jun 21, 2012 11:03 PM

                  Nope. A properly cooked and rested chicken should be juicy on its own. Rotisserie is the ultimate for birds because it self bastes as it turns. Wood-fire rotisserie is even better because of the smokey flavor imparted.

                  As for portugese chicken my vote goes for Sardinha as exceptional value/taste ...also love Albert's Real Jamaican (marinated in fresh sugar cane and Jerk spices....I am getting hungry!!)

                  1. re: dcArtisan
                    justsayn Jun 23, 2012 09:42 PM

                    So how do you manage to get moist and juicy chicken from Sardinha? What time would you typically go? Like I mentioned, I loved the taste each time but just can't handle the dryness.

                    1. re: justsayn
                      d
                      dcArtisan Jun 24, 2012 12:29 AM

                      I no longer live in the area so maybe they are overcooking these days. I always requested extra of the sauce because it was basically the drippings (ie. rendered fat) of the chickens mixed with spicy piment vinegar. Drizzle it over everything :)

              2. y
                ylsf Jun 15, 2012 09:24 AM

                If anyone else is curious to try this place out but not at full price, there is a deal on Wagjag for a few more days. Whole Chicken + 4 sides for $18 (no additional taxes/etc owing at time of pickup/eating):
                https://www.wagjag.com/?w=78981

                1 Reply
                1. re: ylsf
                  e
                  EverymanJack Jun 15, 2012 10:27 AM

                  Thanks. That's a terrific deal for a whole free-range chicken and four sides. We'll see if it's worth the normal $30 price tag.

                2. c
                  canmark May 25, 2012 09:29 AM

                  Toronto Life coverage, with photos: http://www.torontolife.com/daily/dail...

                  ----------
                  Adjey and Farbman wanted to offer "fast food like you’ve never had before," starting with a menu that offers chicken from Beretta Organic Farms and sauces made from scratch daily. Although fast food might seem a strange choice for Adjey, it’s a growing trend among other big chefs like Tom Colicchio (’Wichcraft), Graham Elliot (Grahamwich) and Bobby Flay (Bobby’s Burger Palace). Indeed, Adjey tells us that when he first decided upon opening a chicken joint, he called his Culinary Institute of America roommate Michael Symon, who happened to be eating at the time with Mario Batali and Flay, all of whom chimed in that the concept would be a surefire hit, burgers, pizza and chicken making up a sort of holy fast food triangle. All of this, of course, means Toronto could be seeing more Chickery locations soon if the first one does well.
                  -----------

                  1. i
                    itsvince May 19, 2012 08:40 AM

                    I was there for lunch yesterday. David Adjey was there, doing quality control and chatting up the customers. He even dropped by our table to chat for a bit - he was mainly gloating about how this was quality fast food. I didn't have the heart to tell him that the chicken fingers were underseasoned, and so was the gravy, and the bbq sauce tasted too much like tomato paste. And I usually think that restaurants use too much salt - this was the complete opposite! The collard greens and the mac and cheese were very nice though. I got the 4 chicken fingers and that was a decent portion for lunch, definitely not too much.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: itsvince
                      d
                      Danybear May 19, 2012 08:26 PM

                      COSTCO rotisserie chicken has shot up in price to $7.95, not dry and better than Loblaws or David Adjey blessed chicken. The man is a media whore not a chef.

                      1. re: Danybear
                        h
                        Herne May 20, 2012 07:25 AM

                        Costco chicken is usually a great bargain and lotsa protein for the money. Seasoning while present seems to be largely without taste but a little BBQ sauce (also from Costco) produces a fine meal.

                        Metro's Chicken is the best I believe for taste and a bit high for price .

                        1. re: Herne
                          petek May 20, 2012 08:17 AM

                          Metro's Tuesday nite special..jumbo chicken $6.99 + HST=2-3 meals for me

                      2. re: itsvince
                        j
                        jayseeca May 20, 2012 06:43 AM

                        went late friday afternoon. shared the 6 piece with 2 sides, and it was quite underwhelming.

                        highlights were that the chicken was very tender and juicy and had good spicing, the ranch sauce had some great tang, and the Chickery slaw was tasty.

                        low points were that the actual chicken wasn't very flavourful, 80% of the tenders weren't crispy, the gravy was flavourless, and the mac and cheese was extremely bland and dry. there was almost no cheese flavour...

                        not sure why i had higher hopes for this place.

                        1. re: jayseeca
                          p
                          plug May 22, 2012 01:24 PM

                          maybe its just a consistency issue.... the time i went ..the chicken was tasty and juicy (of course very small portioned) and the mac n cheese was the actual highlight of the meal ... flavourful and decadent.

                          that being said... its definitely overpriced.

                          1. re: plug
                            justsayn May 22, 2012 08:03 PM

                            Over-priced and Adjey loses huge marks IMO for such terrible signage for an off track location. He is supposed to know better!

                            1. re: justsayn
                              kwass Jun 15, 2012 10:36 AM

                              It is an off the track location. Very difficult to find.

                            2. re: plug
                              kwass Jun 15, 2012 10:13 AM

                              I went a couple of weeks ago and I was terribly disappointed. I ordered the chicken fingers and they were tasteless. There was no seasoning on them whatsoever. In addition to the chicken fingers, I got the shoestring fries, which weren't shoestring at all, but regular fries. The chicken gravy was a huge disappointment as well. In fact, I would have to rate the gravy @ KFC as better than this gravy. This place is not worth the $$. It's not even worth 1/2 of the $$ that they're charging. Unfortunately...and I say unfortunately, because I really wanted this place to be good...I would not go back!

                              1. re: kwass
                                l
                                Lotus Seedling Jun 18, 2012 01:30 PM

                                I also wanted this place to be good, but found the food bland for the prices Adjey and co. are charging. I found the chicken fingers far less flavourful that something I can make at home (thanks to America's Best Recipes) and the roast chicken nice... but nothing more.

                                The best flavour came from the buttermilk ranch sauce, but again, I felt it was something I could do at home for a lot less money. Also found their two-tier plate really annoying. Who wants to have their sides and dip hovering on a stand above their plate?

                                I suspect The Chickery won't be clucking for long... it's hard to find off the street and the prices are high for the small portions you get. Adjey is in an area where people expect to get more for their money. For example, Banh Mi Boys is just a few blocks away and offers a much better experience for a fast and casual restaurant.

                                Perhaps David Adjey should choose -- either focus on your own restaurant concept or stick to telling others how to improve theirs. Doing both does no favours to anyone.

                        2. c
                          childofthestorm May 18, 2012 04:44 PM

                          My issue here is ok, fine, Beretta Farms chicken...but I can get a WHOLE Beretta rotisserie chicken, roasted on the real flame oven instead of the Combi-Oven, for a little over $10 at the Loblaws at Queens Quay. This just seems like a bit too much money for what's on offer.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: childofthestorm
                            s
                            sumdumgoy May 18, 2012 05:39 PM

                            The Chickery is using a gas rotisserie, providing tables, cutlery etc..

                            The Loblaws chicken is a loss leader. It is used to induce you to spend more money in the store. I don't think you can buy a Beretta chicken for $10 raw. Besides, in my experience, Loblaws likes to cook them 'til they are dry.

                            1. re: sumdumgoy
                              c
                              childofthestorm May 18, 2012 05:54 PM

                              "Tables, cutlery, etc"...Adjey keeps talking about how this is a QSR (quick serve restaurant) and they are clearly hoping it becomes a franchise. So this ain't fine dining. But at $11 for a quarter chicken and $14 for a half chicken, it's clearly on the higher-end of the QSR model.

                              Meanwhile, I can grab my plastic cutlery and take a seat (at a table!) at Loblaws Queens Quay upstairs, looking over Lake Ontario, a very underrated space actually. Eat my half chicken and I've got leftovers for sandwiches and a carcass for soup. I'm pretty good at picking them too, they're not dry.

                              You're right, it's a loss leader for Loblaws, but if you're in the area, take advantage, it's a pretty nice chicken. I will try the Chickery though - I may go the chicken finger route, curious to hear about experiences with those.

                              1. re: childofthestorm
                                justsayn May 18, 2012 06:25 PM

                                I will get a "seasoning of the day" chicken from Metro once a month maybe and I find it to be above average and not dried out.

                                Chickens from Loblaws on Queen at Portland on the other hand have been incredibly over brined with a bad texture and taste. Do the chickens vary from Loblaws to Loblaws? Because if so, I will mention something to the manager. Thanks!

                                1. re: justsayn
                                  c
                                  childofthestorm May 18, 2012 07:04 PM

                                  Yeah virtually all the Loblaws suck for chicken, they use Combi ovens and cook them way past where they need to be. Queens Quay has an old school, gas-fired, flame-licking rotisserie, with the option to upgrade to Beretta chickens for a buck more. So try it from QQ, sorry I can't be more helpful as to your location, it's probably irredeemable.

                                  1. re: childofthestorm
                                    a
                                    ace123 May 18, 2012 11:00 PM

                                    Went there in late afternoon, the roasted chicken was not done yet.
                                    Tried the 2 pc chicken finger with green salad for $9.
                                    The chicken finger is only the size of a finger. It is very small. The green salad is just a handful. The gravy is bland and under seasoned. Way over priced for that tiny portion.

                                2. re: childofthestorm
                                  hal2010 May 19, 2012 02:30 PM

                                  Isn't Swiss Chalet about $11 for a 1/4 chicken these days?

                                  1. re: hal2010
                                    c
                                    childofthestorm May 19, 2012 06:51 PM

                                    Nah like $8 dine in and $9 takeout. Half chicken is $11.

                                    It's good to raise the Chalet Suisse point cuz this is who the Chickery is going after.

                            2. justsayn May 17, 2012 02:31 PM

                              Sounds expensive....

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: justsayn
                                b
                                bringonthelbs May 17, 2012 02:35 PM

                                Went last week and the place was packed at lunch. Granted they just opened, but in the time I was there I saw about 5 people bringing their orders back because they had received the wrong thing. Had the quarter chicken and left little to be desired. Could have been that they were just too busy to put the time in, but I found it very bland and under seasoned. Also coming in at almost $15 for lunch I won't be back until they work the kinks out.

                                1. re: bringonthelbs
                                  petek May 17, 2012 02:39 PM

                                  Where was Adjey when all of this was happening? for shame!

                                  1. re: petek
                                    s
                                    sumdumgoy May 18, 2012 10:12 AM

                                    Today is day 12 and while they are still not where they want to be the signs are encouraging.

                                    The chicken was good quality and tender but just barely cooked and the skin was not crisp. IMHO the first duty of the skin is to be mahogany coloured and rendered crisp. Admittedly this is not easy to do without overcooking the bird. It should also rest for a few minutes so that you don't get a large puddle of jus on the plate.

                                    The gravy was a bit bland, disappointingly under seasoned and not quite "chickeny" enough for me. With all that rendered fat they should be able to improve it.

                                    With a little tweaking they should be able to nail it and I hope they do.

                                    1. re: petek
                                      j
                                      jamesm May 18, 2012 04:41 PM

                                      I mentioned it above but I don't think this is Adjey's restaurant. He's a consultant now and the website seems to indicate he simply created the menu.

                                      1. re: jamesm
                                        petek May 18, 2012 04:44 PM

                                        I know,I was just kidding.. :)

                                2. l
                                  lister May 17, 2012 01:03 PM

                                  http://www.thegridto.com/life/food-dr...

                                  1. Notorious P.I.G. May 17, 2012 11:07 AM

                                    Who is David Adjey.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                      y
                                      ylsf May 17, 2012 11:11 AM

                                      Exactly.

                                      But, I put it there for context.

                                      He is a "food network" chef. He did (maybe still does) Restaurant Makeover and some other shows for the network. He used to be a personal chef for Dan Akroyd.

                                      1. re: ylsf
                                        j
                                        jamesm May 17, 2012 12:26 PM

                                        It just says the menu was created by David Adjey. Not sure if it's actually his spot or if he just consulted on the menu. Either way he's a goof. I actually bought his cookbook because it was on sale for 4 dollars at one of of those pop-up book sales in the Dufferin Mall. I was going to throw it away but I kept it since it's so comically terrible. Sorry though, I have no instructive feedback about the restaurant.

                                    2. Kagemusha May 17, 2012 10:35 AM

                                      Looks like haute Swiss Chalet. Brilliant!

                                      Show Hidden Posts