Chestnut : Your friendly neighborhood bar

Chestnut Your friendly neighborhood bar
(Photos: Zeid Odeh/Jordan News)
Someone asked me this week which restaurants I usually go to, and thinking back to the food articles I’ve been writing, I realized that I am not a regular at any of Amman’s restaurants — I’ve even forgotten the ones I used to go to regularly.اضافة اعلان

Don’t get me wrong, exploring new restaurants has its perks, especially because you get to see some of the innovative ideas people are coming up with; many are replicating ideas over and over. Part of me is still looking for that place that will reinvent the burger. This brings me to my question: is staying inside the box more reassuring than going out of it?

I was reminded this week of a place that I used to go to very frequently, and I realized suddenly that I had not been there in a long time. Since I craved their filling dishes, I went to Chestnut Restaurant & Pub, near the 2nd Circle in Jabal Amman.

When you thinks of bar food, you think of fried, easy-to-eat, fast, and quick dishes, which is exactly what I was aiming for on that particular day.

For those who are unfamiliar with Chestnut, it’s a pub that serves good drinks and offers an extensive food menu. You would not expect to find such a bar on that street, which is one of the things that I like about it.

I went there during my lunch break for a quick bite and a drink; I was craving their buffalo tenders. Their menu offers a wide variety of bar food. They have a wide selection of salads, appetizers, pastas, sandwiches, and main courses.

I ordered the crunchy salmon avocado salad, the penne all’arrabiata, the steak sandwich, and, of course, the buffalo tenders.

I liked the presentation of the salmon salad; it was well dressed with a creamy dressing. I usually like to go for a citrussy dressing for fish in general, but this salad came with a sweet teriyaki dressing drizzled on the plate that brought great flavor to the overall dish. The cuts of salmon were relatively large for bite sizes; I would personally cut them a little smaller, especially since it is raw salmon.

The buffalo tenders, as simple as this dish is, were not dominated by the buffalo sauce. One thing to note is how many tenders that you get — I don’t think I’ve ever left pieces behind, but I couldn’t push through for the whole plate.

When I first lifted the steak sandwich, I thought that it needed cheese, but as soon as I took the first bite, I realized that the cheese was inside the mix. It tasted great: the steak was tender, and the vegetables were not overcooked. I’d probably ask for the cheese to be on top next time out of personal preference.

I have previously discussed the scale of restaurants and how people tend to say things like “For a coffee place, they have great food.” Assessing food without losing sight of what the place’s main business is should be a major element in the reviewing process. I would not critique a bar for their pasta the way I would an Italian restaurant.

This brings me to the pasta dish, which I ordered for the sake of exploring their pasta recipe. The best way to do this is to assess the most basic sauce — tomato.

The penne was cooked well, yet the sauce was a little bland. Even though it was spicy, I was left wishing for a tad more seasoning and herbs. Tomato sauce tends to be tricky to make. Sometimes adding sugar can balance the sauce out. Also, adding fresh herbs towards the end can give it a beautiful medley of flavors in the basic sauce.

I had to have a dessert before heading back to work, and I tried their crème brûlée, which I was a little surprised to find on their menu. This dessert has to be cooked in a water bath in the oven. Undercooking it might cause the mixture to still be runny and overcooking it would make it grainy. Their version is simple, with a strawberry garnish and a generous coating of caramelized sugar on top with creamy custard.

The service was amiable, quick, and efficient. The server was always present and showed great effort to ensure that our needs were met.

If you are ever in the area, or you are looking for a chill bar to have a quick bite or even dinner, I recommend trying out Chestnut. They do get a little busy on the weekends so a reservation might be needed.

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