The pot pie at Gene Street’s Black-eyed Pea was a hefty dish. The restaurant stood on Cedar Springs for 40 years like a chicken-fried pillar until it closed in 2016. Marco Street, son of Gene, and his siblings grew up on crunchy crusts and roasted chicken filling. So, they brought it back when they opened Street’s Fine Chicken in the old Black-eyed Pea space—the chicken pot pie was one of first dishes they resurrected.
“It was a no-brainer,” says Marco Street, owner of Street’s Fine Chicken.
When it comes to ordering nostalgic dishes at restaurants, there are only two possible outcomes. First one is the food might be a delicious time-machine, transporting you through time-space to an illustrated memory of the first time you devoured it. The other outcome is it’s a Phantom Menace-level nightmare. A roaring flame of a kitchen misfire that coaxes the best memories of childhood out of your mind, then ignites them in front of your eyes in a Dante-esque hell blaze. There’s really no middle ground when it comes to food nostalgia.
The worst chicken pot pies have an indistinguishable sludge inside a stale crust. The braided edges of the crust become hard as iron, a oven-baked weapon sent to break your teeth. Mediocre chicken pot pies are easy to find in Dallas, but the best ones are a rarer breed. Street’s Fine Chicken is one of the best.
“Pot pie often becomes one consistency,” says Street. “It becomes mush. We do it a little bit different.”
Potatoes, peas that snap, carrots, and whole chicken tenders bathe in chicken stock and heavy cream. In goes bay leaves, garlic, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. And lots of butter.
“I mean, obviously we do a lot of heavy cream and butter in it,” he says. “There’s no way around it.”
The crust is where Street’s departs from the original. It’s where purists may gasp and shout for the institution of martial law. Instead of a whole pie-like crust that surrounds the filling, Street’s layers a buttery, cloud-puff pastry on top. The crust blanket floats over the creamy pot pie filling, ready to be cracked by your spoon. It’s one of the simplest, cleverest twists on a traditional presentation around, and it’s, somehow, unpretentious.
“Not to lie, but we have tons of people that are so traditional that want it in a crust and an aluminum pan, and we just don’t do it that way,” Street says.
Pot pie lovers will find the focus is on the piping hot, warming spices, like a bowl of good clam chowder, and chicken that hasn’t been blanched of life. Peas snap. Herbs stand out like light posts. Miraculously, their pot pie holds up delivered, too.
In other words: the Streets have figured out a way to make a pot pie that tastes like it was sent forward in time, through a childhood memory.