Sunday, 6 October 2013


244 James St. North, Hamilton
visited Friday, October 4, 2013

If you're looking for casual well made food in a trendy setting then this is your place.  This small restaurant is another fabulous addition to the James St. North food scene that is emerging in the city right now.  Nice big windows, a well lit red sign and a sidewalk chalk board easel inviting you to come in, will not have you simply walking by this place.  They did a nice job of the inside as well, with a long exposed brick wall, stainless steel accents along their open kitchen station, open duct work and a pressed tin ceiling.  With only 6-8 tables this is definitely a small little place, but cozy and efficient. 

Upon entering you line up at the register to place your order, much like a fast food restaurant and then are either seated at a table or they have chairs for those waiting for take out.  The large blackboard menu was pretty and artistic but slightly confusing to read and navigate.  The server greeted us and asked if it was our first time, then proceeded to give us the brochure menu which she said was easier to understand..... agreed! 

Charred focuses on a few key items and does them well.  Rotisserie chicken cooked over charcoal is their star player....and the only protein they serve.  The homemade piri piri sauce that ranges from mild to extra spicy is also another key menu item.  Fresh cut fries, poutine, ceasar salad and house salad are the only other main items...but they are all done well.  Our food came out very quickly, within only 5 min of being seated.

Charred Sandwich $7
I ordered the Charred Sandwich $7 which was pulled charred chicken with peppers, onions, aged cheddar, cilantro and the homemade piri piri mayo all on a fresh Portuguese bun from Ola Bakery down the street.  The chicken was super moist and tender and the piri piri mayo was super flavourful.  The sandwich was stacked quite high with ingredients and was super filling.  I would have preferred the cheddar to be melted a bit and maybe the bun slightly toasted, but other than that it was a stellar hand held meal.  The generous helping of extra spicy piri piri sauce on the side was layered with flavour, although it wasn't as spicy as I had anticipated.  

Caesar Salad $5 as combo
I also upgraded to the combo meal for an extra $3, to get a side and a drink.  Standard sides are roasted potatoes, fries or house salad but I paid an extra $3 for a Caesar Salad.  And normally I never ever order a Caesar salad when out for two main reasons; 1. most places do not make a proper Caesar salad and have garbage out of a bottle fake dressing  and 2. you might as well not call it a salad since its the furthest thing from healthy.  But I had a good feeling about this place so took the plunge and ordered one anyway.  And my risk taking greatly paid off.  The Caesar had large shavings of parmesan cheese, REAL chunks of crispy bacon, crunchy homemade croutons and a proper Caesar dressing with lots of garlic, olive oil and egg yolk.  It was really good and worth the caloric splurge.
1/4 Leg & Thigh w/ side $8.50
My husband had the 1/4 leg & thigh with one side $8.50 which he upgraded to the poutine for another $3.  The chicken leg and thigh was a touch on the small side but it was cooked really well.  That charcoal and slow rotisserie plus the basting of piri piri sauce really gave it complex flavour and took your average chicken meal up a notch.  Half a bun was served on the plate plus extra piri piri sauce for dipping, but I did think the plate was rather large for the amount of food on it.  The food looked teeny tiny and floating on the big white plate. On the upside, the cutlery and dinnerware were really modern, fresh and not cheap and therefore elevated the feel of what could be a dumpy chicken take out joint, to a more trendy place to eat.

Poutine $3 extra as combo
The poutine my husband ordered had the usual fries and gravy but the cheese curds were marinated in the piri piri sauce, so they had a bit of a bite to them.  I'm not a huge fan of poutine in general but I had a few bites and they were good.  The piri piri cheese curds were a nice variation and the fries were cooked well.  The gravy was decent with good flavour but I think there was just too much of it.  My husband devoured it so for those that generally like poutine I'd say this is a sure bet. 

For $27 we had a filling well prepared dinner, that was flavourful and made with care.  It's definitely a casual spot maybe more suited to lunch but a quick dinner there was enjoyable too.  I'd keep it in mind when wanting to get take out for a weekday meal.  A whole rotisserie chicken will run you $14, which is not much more than Fortinos, and it packs more flavour for sure.

Food 4.0*, Value 4.0*, Service 5.0*, D├ęcor/Ambiance 4.5*
Overall: 4.3  Good food at a decent price and a pleasant setting to enjoy it in.  A couple minor tweaks like a toasted bun, better proportioned plates and maybe another one or two menu items with the signature Charred chicken in it (i'm thinking a taco or pizza) would elevate this place just that extra bit more.  But they have definitely stamped themselves as the charcoal rotisserie masters and they do an excellent job of it.

 Charred Rotisserie House on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Looks very appetizing! I'm going to take my family here next time we're in the Hammer. I'm questioning the poutine... the gravy doesn't look like it was hot enough to melt the cheese curds though.
    Thank you for your blog. Appreciate the write-ups. Keep up the excellent work!