Clinton Street Baking Company, City Walk


Clinton Street Baking Company was a humble little eatery in New York – serving up lovingly crafted baked goods in small batches. Then, after flipping open New York Magazine and reading its latest article, the restaurant's popularity exploded. Lines were as long as the eye could see after New York Magazine voted Clinton Street's blueberry pancakes the best in the city...twice! The rest is history. The epic American eatery recently opened its doors in Dubai – first in Downtown and now at the newly launched shopping and dining district, City Walk. Known for its breakfasts, Clinton Street spends as much time poaching eggs as it does frying its award-winning chicken dinners.

After stumbling over to City Walk's newly opened Clinton Street outlet, we were ridden with anxiety about not scoring a table. With its famous buttermilk fried chicken and heavenly pancakes, it wouldn't be a surprise if the eatery was all booked up even at lunch time. We landed at its doorstep in a huff and were swiftly guided to a booth, with no hesitation. After quickly scanning the restaurant, it became apparent that only a couple of tables were occupied. Pro tip: Dubai comes alive at night, so booking a table after sunset is highly recommended.

Public parking is available around the corner, and is free of charge. Parking spaces are as slim are a freshly threaded eyebrow, so it may feel like squeezing into a tight spot for chunky vehicles.

Greeting and seating
A band of folks welcomed us at the entrance and offered us a choice of table or booth. Bathed in sunlight and accompanied with marble tabletops, we couldn't resist the glam booths! After being seated, a waitress handed us the menus and collected our drink orders.

Knowledge and service of the waiter
The service at Clinton Street Baking Company was spotless. Whenever we called for attention, a waiter zoomed over to our aid. Our glasses were never empty and the moment we took our last morsel, they rushed over the clear our table. Syrup accidentally spilled onto my waffle when it arrived, but Clinton Street's heavy plates wreck your biceps, so I'm glad the damage was minimal.

Our order
We kicked off with refreshing glasses of iced water and an Arnold Palmer. Our main courses were Clinton Street's famous buttermilk fried chicken with waffles and a veggie sandwich with coleslaw on the side. Dessert was short and sweet – a scrumptious peanut butter cookie.

When it comes to buttermilk fried chicken and pancakes, Clinton Street's name is howled from the rooftops. While fried chicken dominates the fast food scene in Dubai, restaurants that serve it up in a formal setting are few and far in between. Tired of greasily chewing on a chicken thigh in KFC's parking lot, I couldn't wait to add Clinton Street to my hall of fame: fried chicken edition. What arrived was a gargantuan serving of fried chicken seated on soft waffles with a side of syrup and jalapeno sour cream. My knife sunk into the waffle and released wafts of fresh steam. My first bite of the fried chicken sent off a crunch so loud, folks in Oman might have heard me. I drenched everything from my waffle and chicken to my face and fork in syrup – it was that good! The jalapeno sour cream subtly elevated the overall flavor, making the order a total hit.

My vegetarian lunch date thought he'd be picking at an uninspiring green salad, since Clinton Street is known for its meat. He ordered the veggie sandwich, which he completely expected to be a handful of slimy roast vegetables slapped between slices of tough bread. What arrived threw his expectations in the trash, and that's a compliment! A monster veggie sandwich, stuffed with everything that makes a vegetarian drool, landed on the table. Crammed with sharp cuts of cheese, bean sprouts, leafy greens, fat slices of juicy tomato, and herb mayo. Two rich slices of seven-grain bread were slathered with creamy avocado and hugged the fillings. But wait – there's more. Like the classic American joint that it is, a heaping mountain of home cut fries snuggled up beside the sandwich. Fresh coleslaw added a pop of color to the plate, most of the credit goes to the sexy red cabbage though. Wrapping up the masterpiece was a lush pickle with attitude.

He washed it down with a pint of Arnold Palmer. Who's Arnold Palmer, you ask? A legendary American golfer, apparently. But that's not what he's known for. It doesn't matter how many holes-in-one this dude scored, his greatest contribution to society is combining half a serving of lemonade with half a serving of iced tea. Boom bam – instant mocktail guru!

Stuffed from our main courses like Thanksgiving turkeys, we couldn't even sneak a peak at the dessert menu without keeling over. Knowing well that Clinton Street's hearty pies and cakes would send us over the edge, the waitress recommended lightly nibbling on a cookie. We obliged and a peanut butter cookie greeted us, sweetly nestled in a bed baking paper. I literally picked off a just pinch cookie and tried a taste. The minute the ingredients traveled from my taste buds to the flavor-center in my brain, there was a frat party in my mouth. Seriously guys, I'm talking "slam your wrists on the table and demand to kiss the chef" level delicious! My date agreed, and even though we were full to bursting, we managed to devour the cookie and crave another.

Courtesy extended during the meal
Multiple different waiters checked in on us to ensure whether we were enjoying the food and if the flavor was up to our expectations. The service wasn't overly peppered, and we were blissfully left to indulge in our food without having to answer questions amid mouthfuls of waffle.

The vibe at Clinton Street Baking Company, City Walk is drastically different from its sibling outlet in Downtown Dubai. This branch flaunts a 70s vibe with old-school leather booths, retro music, and bursts of marble. The booths were flushed in avocado green, which was famously "the color of the decade" in the 70s. Back then, people's houses were dotted with everything from avocado-green curtains in the living room to avocado-green refrigerators in the kitchen. Fast-forward to the current decade, and we've reassigned our avocados to toast and Instagram. Urban minimalism meets retro charm at City Walk's charming Clinton Street Baking Company.

The portion sizes and prices are a bit much for lunch time, but totally worth it for dinner. Isn't it weird how we're happy to spend more money and justify it just because the sun isn't in the sky? Our massive two course meal and drinks came to 194 dirhams. Quick tip: If you're hooked up with the Entertainer, you can walk away with a free main course at Clinton Street.

Overall, would you return?
I was asked that the first time I visited Clinton Street in Downtown. I've returned several times since, especially when I'm craving a comforting mouthful of fried chicken and cornbread. The City Walk outlet is in my hood, so Clinton Steet's American breakfast is my default weekend plan!

Chef's recommendations
Award-winning buttermilk fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, and its legendary pancakes.