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Matthew Schaefer Brings Fried Chicken to the Mermaid Inn

Matthew Schaefer Brings Fried Chicken to the Mermaid Inn

Photo: Shanna Ravindra

Matthew Schaefer, the new chef at the Mermaid Inn’s downtown location, tells us that after a couple of weeks in the kitchen, he has already added a crab cake and clam chowder to the menu, and that by summer it’ll be fully his. (Of course, a few of the place’s signature dishes will remain — like the lobster roll that’s available along with a beer for $20 every day before 7 p.m.) Schaefer is now pairing the Inn’s cod fish with a take on red-wine risotto that incorporates ham hocks, plus a sauce made from the red wine he braises them in. And tonight he’ll add a fried chicken dish similar to the one he served at Bussaco — a quartered young chicken brined, soaked in buttermilk, and deep-fried, then paired with collard greens and cornbread. As for his previous gig, Schaefer shrugs off the owner’s claims that he wasn’t catering to the needs of the nabe. “I had a pizza, fried chicken, and a burger on the menu at Bussaco. To me, those are comforting foods. I guess the owner saw it differently.” His plan at the Mermaid: “Cooking American food and keeping it simple.”

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