*UPDATE MAY 2014* Chef Victor Barry has parted ways with County General and is now focusing solely on Splendido and fatherhood.
In the mood for something a little more casual we stumbled upon The County General, the joint I’ve been meaning to check out for some time for the famed fried chicken thigh sandwich.I must say I really love the décor. Panels of wood line the ceiling leading to an impressive wall of jenga-like blocks with the signature white coq serving as the focal point. Mr. Pig makes an appearance alongside with “Eat Me” scribbled on the chalkboard he holds up. Atop the bar shelves you’ll find heads of various carnivores adorned with the likes of sunglasses. I thought they were quite cute.The rectangular restaurant does not allow for a whole lot of seating though the space seems more accommodating towards large groups than small ones.
The young staff here are all very easy-going and while I wouldn’t call them inattentive, they work at their own pace.We opted to start with the Trio of Steamed Pork Buns ($12) with green apple slaw, avocado chutney and kimchee served with a bottle of hot sauce for those wanting to add a little heat. The steamed buns were spot on, elastic but soft and supple – I dare say even better than most Chinese restaurants make. My favourite flavour was the green apple slaw, with the kimchee being a nay for me. It just overpowered the flavour of the pork.
Then came the infamous Fried Chicken Thigh Sandwich ($14) which gets a lot of “tender” lovin’ care, being done up sous-vide for an extra juicy bird. However, where the texture wins, the flavour loses out. This had to have been one of the blandest fried chicken sandwiches I’ve had and adding no salt to injury with the use of a rather mild-flavoured avocado does nothing to save the poor clucker. We opted for a side of fries instead of salad which was served with a delicious house-made ketchup. I think the Bibb lettuce would’ve had more crispiness to it. Maybe I should’ve ordered the salad after all.
If you’re a fan of variety then skip dessert because there is but one. Tonight it was a Peanut Butter Trifle layered with cake, peanut brittle and chocolate mousse. They should change their name to Pirate General as discovering the layers was like digging for treasure. Perhaps serving it in a mason jar so that you could see all the layers would be a good compass to navigate my incomplete spoonfuls of dessert. The texture of the mousse was a little off for me and the presentation could use some work. Flavour-wise it was not bad.
Our bill came to $45 including tax and tip. My meal here was like a roller coaster. It started on a high with the steamed pork bun trio, then a low with the chicken thigh sandwich, and then the ride was over with the mediocre dessert.
And as you may or may not know, the restaurant is Carlo Catallo and Victor Barry‘s (Splendido) stab at casual dining. If I were mom and dad, I’d say Splendido is the overachieving older child who never fails to please and the County General would be the younger spoiled brat who’s perfectly content doing what they’re doing without seeking approval.