The Jukes of Hazzard: Juke Fried Chicken

Juke in Chinatown has been open about 5 weeks. There’s this thing about food blogging/food reviewing that you shouldn’t review a place the first x it’s been open — that “x” could be a week, a month, whatever…that value changes depending on who you talk to. I break that rule all the time. One part of me understands that restaurants always need time to work out the kinks, to smooth out their processes and staffing, settle into their “vision”, what have you. The other part of me feels that I don’t want to be a guinea pig, spend hard-earned cash money, waste my time, or waste a dining opportunity with so much out there to try. So I waited more than a month to try Juke. I think I have a pretty good idea about their food and can judge accordingly. You may like it. You may love it. I didn’t.

DSCF3234

Juke, in the black & red building. The fabric of Chinatown is changing quite quickly…swapping silk for some 3D-printed textile.

DSCF4177

Juke is part-bar, part-fried chicken joint, where you can dine in or take out.

DSCF4183

It’s rare that you can read a restaurant’s menu entirely from the street. To save your eyes, you can read their small, tight menu online.

DSCF4185

They’re open 11am until late everyday.

DSCF4187

I totally neglected to inspect the bar menu cuz I was 60% day-drunk after running club. This is what they have available at the counter.

DSCF4192

Tableside sauces: bbq sauce on the left, honey drizzle on the right.

DSCF4206

Surprisingly, the Dirty  Fries were more expensive than my chicken. But people seemed to rave about them, so I took the plunge.

DSCF4196

Two Piece Chicken ($5.50) with Dirty Fries ($6). The chicken pieces were a drumstick and a thigh. Dark meat all the way!

DSCF4209

Let’s talk a bit about their hilarious branding! This design is also plastered all over their washrooms.

DSCF4210

Hilarious. I love it when places have a sense of humour.

DSCF4211

So who’s gonna dress like the Juke guy for Halloween this year?

Since this place is called “Juke”, I kept on thinking that the music they played was “jukebox” music:

Now for the actual chicken:

DSCF4203

All of their chicken is gluten-free. This is an important point because I think it’s the main reason why the coating is the way that it is — thick, crunchy, and a bit tough. Brings to mind the feeling of eating crunchy cardboard or cereal like Fiber One or All-Bran. If you’re gluten-intolerant, you may have no other choice. But for everyone else, gluten-free fried chicken will always be a notch (or few) below regular fried chicken where the coating can be crispy and crunchy, not just a heavy thick crunch like this stuff.

 

 

DSCF4221

Seasoning of the meat and batter was good though. Early reports from this place said that the meat was bland/underseasoned. This is now no longer the case. The chicken was well-brined and seasoned. Meat somewhat juicy, but I’ve had juicier. One a positive note, the chicken is one of the least greasy fried chickens in recent memory, almost like it was baked instead of fried.

DSCF4213

The Dirty Fries ($6) are dressed with cheese sauce, bbq sauce, cilantro, green onions, and pickled onions. The fries are similar to McDonald’s fries in size and shape, but have the skin on. The frying is almost like McDonald’s as well, but not as crisp. If I’m going to eat fries covered in stuff (eg. poutine), I like my fries to be VERY crispy so it stands up to being drowned in sauce yet still retain some crispness. Sadly, this wasn’t the case here and the centre of the pile became limp, wet, and (for me) pointless to eat. I ate all the crisp fries around the edge and left it at that. I found myself wanting more cheese sauce and less bbq sauce too. I longed for the fries with stinky cheese sauce at Bestie a couple blocks away. The combination of the sauces and onions didn’t thrill me. Not sure what everyone else was talking about when they raved about these fries…just goes to show how tastes can diverge…like, a lot.

Honestly, I couldn’t imagine wanting to eat the fried chicken or dirty fries again.

Juke Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

3 thoughts on “The Jukes of Hazzard: Juke Fried Chicken”

  1. Glad they lowered the price of the fries from the silly $10 opening day tag they charged us (it was $9 on the menu but we got to pay an extra dollar for no apparent reason). $6 for three average tasting small biscuits was also silly. I thought the chicken was reasonably priced but agree about the coating and also found for me there was an odd spice that I didn’t like. That will teach me to go on the first day! That being said, they comped us an order of the beignets because of some of the issues which was a nice gesture.

  2. Checked out their happy hour last night (I had walked from the Vogue on Granville and this was around 1030pm? So yeah – I was freezing AND hungry). Totally agree about the coating – I thought there was a chance it was because they didn’t cook the chicken to order (my order showed up REALLY fast). So I ordered the chicken sammie ($5) – and the coating was identical, and that was definitely burning hot fresh out of the fryer.

    That said – it’s probably one of the most flavourful fried chicken meat I’ve ever had. Absolutely heads over heels in love with it (but I do LOVE the taste of black pepper soooooo).

    Either way – the meal powered me up enough to walk from there, all the way to Broadway/Main 🙂

Leave a Reply