New Cotati Restaurant Serves Epic Fried Chicken Sandwich

Also on the menu: Sonoma County's best Banh Mi sandwich and other Southeast Asian-inspired dishes.

Monday has always been Charlie Hustle day at Jam’s Joy Bungalow in Sebastopol. Chef Jamilah Nixon-Mathis’ epic fried chicken sandwich (named for rapper E-40’s album of the same name) is loaded with crispy thigh meat, sweet honey sauce, pickles, sriracha and cabbage piled so high it needs a low-flying aircraft warning.

And what if you missed the Charlie Hustle sando at the tiny Sebastopol Town Square walk-up window on Monday? Sorry, Charlie, you’d have to wait until next week.

At least that was true until the recent opening of Nixon-Mathis’ new Cotati restaurant and kitchen (also called Jam’s Joy Bungalow), where now you can get the Charlie Hustle every day of the week, along with an expanded menu of Southeast Asian-inspired dishes with all the spicy, sweet, aromatic flavors we’ve come to expect from Jam’s Joy Bungalow.

Jok at Jam's Joy Bungalow. Instagram.
Jok at Jam’s Joy Bungalow. (Courtesy of Jam’s Joy Bungalow)
Crispy rice salad at Jam's Joy Bungalow in Cotati. (Heather Irwin/Sonoma Magazine)
Crispy rice salad, curry fries and fried chicken skins at Jam’s Joy Bungalow in Cotati. (Heather Irwin/Sonoma Magazine)

Familiar menu favorites include the area’s best Banh Mi sandwich ($10, vegan and grain-free options available); Nutty Noods ($10) with buckwheat noodles, peanut sauce, shiitake mushrooms and crispy shallots; and Jok ($7), a savory rice porridge with herbs, fermented soybean paste, ginger, garlic and a creamy six-minute egg.

You’ll want to try menu newcomers like fried chicken skins (think poultry chicharrones) that crackle and melt in your mouth; a mountain of curry fries ($8) radiating the scent of turmeric and ginger and smothered with curry aioli, hot sambal sauce and a flurry of cilantro; or Go’s Balls ($6), orbs of crispy coconut and curry rice with sweet chile sauce.

Leave room for lighter options, including Crispy Rice Salad ($11), a chopped salad with pickled carrots, lettuce, ginger, jalapeño, shallots, peanuts and sweet-sour fish sauce dressing.

Weekend brunch packs the biggest punch, with most of the weekday items available plus Chicken and Waffle ($12) with mochi brown butter waffles, fried chicken and chile crunch honey; the JJB Breakfast Burrito ($11) with braised beef, kimchi, cheese and a fried egg; or Hawaiian surfer breakfast fave, Loco Moco ($11) with gravy, egg, rice, seaweed and Spam, fried chicken or Chinese sausage.

Daily specials and surprises make Jam’s Joy Bungalow all the more destination-worthy. If you’ve never tried Garlic Buttered Scallop or Salted Egg Lays potato chips from Thailand, you’re in for a treat. Sit outside on the patio or porch or head inside to the whimsical, jungle-y sit-down restaurant. Look for a slithering (fake) boa or visit the rain forest bathroom. It’s a dining adventure.

Hours change frequently, so watch their Facebook page for details. Cotati location is at 101 E. Cotati Ave., Cotati; Sebastopol walk-up at 150 Weeks Way, Sebastopol.