Skate on Over to Hot French Chix in Chester

CT Dish Visits Hot French Chix in Chester

Hot French Chix

59 Main Street, Chester

CT Dish Gold Seal of Approval

Question: What’s a hard-to-find dish that I’d drive halfway across the state for?
Answer: Skate wing!

Here you see skate in a beurre noir prepared perfectly at Hot French Chix in Chester during our August 22 visit. Hot French Chix is owned by Linda & Everett Reid, who previously operated Restaurant L & E and The Good Elephant in the same location.

The weather was a bit iffy on the night we visited. A short-lived shower passed overhead, forcing guests briefly to mask up and cluster under the shelter. Everyone responded good-naturedly, then got back to enjoying their repasts. On evenings where the weather is clearly going to pose a problem, Hot French Chix sends out an email to mailing list customers like myself stating it will be closed for the evening.

We began our evening with a couple of drinks. My companion enjoyed a refreshing glass of Herència Altés Garnatxa Blanca, Terra Alta, Catalunya, Spain ($8). I tried—and liked—a Boulevardier ($14) of Bulleit Bourbon, Campari and vermouth. Later, I graduated to a lovely glass of McKinlay Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($14).

We tried several starters, enjoying every one. The Korean BBQ pork ribs ($15) served on a bed of gingered rice were addictive and frankly could have made a full meal. Pâté de campagne ($12) with gingered plum jam was also terrific. And we made short work of smoked trout rillette ($14) with horseradish root cream and pickled onion. But our favorite appetizer was probably the four-way deviled eggs ($10), whose diverse toppings included smoked salmon, bacon marmalade, chicken cracklings and black olive tapénade.


Normally, I won’t duplicate anything my companion has for dinner, wishing to maximize the opportunity to try new items. But we made the trip specially for skate ($26), so we both had it for our main course. Its accoutrements were lentils, spiced apple and pork belly. If you haven’t tried skate, I would urge you to do so. It has a mild flavor and a lovely texture. And famously, there was a time when round cuts of skate were passed off as scallops. I find that ironic, because I like skate even better than scallops. It would be like passing off lobster as a substitute for scrod.

If skate wouldn’t bring you all the way to Chester though, the warm cinnamon monkey bread ($10) with honey lavender ice cream and peach compote should. Strong black coffee ($3.50) was the ideal accompaniment.


Now more than ever, restaurateurs deserve whatever support you’re comfortable providing. These days, they have to be fluid and reactive. Their ability to operate successfully often depends on the physical attributes of restaurants they opened at a time when the current circumstances could not be foreseen. Cold weather will bring even greater challenges. Hot French Chix has available the small, ground floor interior from when it operated Restaurant L & E as well as the separate small upstairs from when it operated Good Elephant Bistro, neither of which have a great capacity. One wonders whether the Reids will continue to host diners through the winter or restrict themselves to takeout. I guess time will tell.

In the meantime, I’ll wind up with the obvious question: Who doesn’t love Hot French Chix?

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