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The Black-owned seafood spot Chef Skip has operated on the Howard University campus since August 2021. Its roots date back to 2015, when owners and cousins Chantel and Christopher Skipper started the food truck turned storefront business in Virginia Beach and Portsmouth, Virginia. After initially offering several types of protein cooked in different ways, they realized that fried seafood was their top seller, so they made it their main concept.
The takeout restaurant on Euclid Street NW is on the ground floor of a row house. A sign reading “Chef Skip Takeout” in white and neon green sits on top of the shop. The exterior is black with bright green trim that catches a passerby’s eye. As you walk in, you’ll see a neon light on the left with the words “Good Food Only.” On your right will be the cashier, a digital menu, and two display cases with bottled drinks and desserts.
About 90 percent of the food on Chef Skip’s menu is fried, so do not come here if you’re counting calories. They offer baskets, mixed seafood platters, sandwiches, and a kids menu, all served with rosemary and thyme french fries. If you like, you can swap fries for a slightly sweet coleslaw. Some proteins can also be purchased as an add-on. Everything is cooked to order in canola oil, taking 10 to 15 minutes. As a special touch, each menu item comes with an edible flower garnish.
The most popular meal is the salmon bites basket. Six salmon pieces, slightly larger than bite-size, are dipped in an egg wash, lightly breaded with cornmeal, and deep-fried. They are seasoned with Old Bay and Cajun spices, then placed on top of a hefty serving of herbed fries. The salmon is drizzled with remoulade and Chef Skip house sauce, a sweet aioli. This was a cheap and filling meal. The salmon kept its crispy exterior while being juicy in the middle. The fries also had a nice crunch after sitting for a while, and still taste good when cooled. This basket is a hit with the Howard students, and I see why.
I also recommend the four-ounce crab cake, sold in a basket, platter, or as an add-on. Cooks use remoulade as a binder instead of mayonnaise, and I’m wondering why I haven’t done this myself. The crabmeat is also mixed with seasoned breadcrumbs, eggs, and Old Bay, then seared and served with a side of the house sauce for dipping. I only had a bite of the crab cake the same day I ordered it (blame the salmon bites platter). It was just as good reheated in the toaster oven the next day. I loved that remoulade was mixed in, giving the crab a hint of spice.
The neighbors regularly order the shrimp po’boy. Martin’s hoagie rolls are filled with four jumbo shrimp, remoulade, and coleslaw. The staff also notice that the older crowd likes to order the fried clams and oysters, usually as a platter.
If you are not in the mood for seafood, there are a few items to choose from. Chantel recommends the chicken Philly, served on a bun or on top of fries. She joked around, saying “I wanted a version of the Philly with no bread and less carbs, so I put it on top of fries so I won’t feel bad eating it…,” and that is my type of party. The Philly, also available with steak, is cooked with onions, sweet peppers, and American cheese, then drizzled with the house sauce.
There are also fried wing baskets, with eight wingettes tossed in your sauce or seasoning of choice. Cooks marinate the wings in hot sauce and Old Bay before deep-frying. Choose between nine flavors: plain, BBQ, lemon pepper, mumbo, hot, Old Bay, ranch, sweet chili, or buffalo. You can mix and match two flavors to jazz things up a bit. I opted for lemon pepper and my wings were tossed in a little lemon juice so that the seasoning sticks. I also got mumbo sauce, made with Capital City Mambo, because that’s part of my diet. Both options were finger-licking winners.
The desserts at Chef Skip come from the local bakery Nina’s Sweet Cakes. She offers a rotation of dessert jar flavors, including strawberry shortcake, banana pudding, red velvet, and some seasonal flavors. Unfortunately, there was only one flavor available on my visit. This is a good problem, though, because they apparently sell out that quickly. Also, lucky for me, I’m a slut for a lemon dessert, so I was not upset that their strawberry lemonade cake jar was the only flavor available. Don’t get this if you do not have a sweet tooth. I was going to save half for another day, but oops, it didn’t last that long.
Chef Skip is the definition of high-quality fast food. Fairly priced (items range from $7 to $21), with fresh ingredients, speedy service, satisfied taste buds, and a pleased stomach. A quick note: Yes, everything is deep-fried. However, none of the food I tried was super greasy. Don’t feel too guilty when you visit them.
Chef Skip is located at 715 Euclid St. NW. Hours are Monday through Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Pickup orders can be placed online, in person, or over the phone. Delivery is available through DoorDash and UberEats.