Decided to try this. Seems So Cal’s getting a bunch of things opening in waves. Mesquite Taco places. Fried Chicken places and more.
Gus’s Fried Chicken seems to be a “world famous” (from their website) export originating from Mason, Tennessee. Unlike some of the other Fried Chicken specialists recently, this is a well-established operation, with 15 locations in 9 states, and franchises for sale to expand.
Talking with their manager, Gus’s fried bird is not the same thing as “Nashville Hot Chicken” (ala Howlin’ Ray’s), but it’s a gentle heat. Also unlike Howlin’ Ray’s or other spots, there is no option: Gus’s only serves Spicy Fried Chicken (no Non-Spicy option).
Their parking situation is kind of tough: Located on the corner of Crenshaw and Pico, their back parking lot (only a few spaces) are all reserved for Take-Out Orders Only. Crenshaw itself has no immediate street parking right next to the store (and it’s a busy intersection).
This tastes pretty mediocre. It’s overly sweet(!), not very creamy and tastes a bit mass-produced. A far cry from the awesome freshly made Potato Salad at Howlin’ Rays and Wexler’s. I wouldn’t order this again.
Mac & Cheese:
This tasted pretty straightforward. A standard semi-cheesy, semi-creamy Mac & Cheese. Not as good as the fragrant Nacho Mac & Cheese at Howlin’ Ray’s. But it’s not bad.
This was just too sweet (kind of off-putting). It tasted like a pretty generic / mass-produced version of Collard Greens. Definitely not as good as Flossie’s variety of Greens back in the day (they had 3 - 4 different choices and they were all better than this).
Fried Chicken (Wing, Breast, Thigh, Leg):
Their menu claims they use “natural, hormone-free chicken” fried in Peanut Oil. Then again, mega producers like Foster Farms use the same claim, so they could just as well be using something like that. I couldn’t taste the difference (unlike at Howlin’ Ray’s or even Honeybird, where the Chicken really does taste brighter, fresher).
Starting with their Fried Chicken Breast, the batter is very thin. It doesn’t have the awesome crunch or crispiness of Howlin’ Ray’s (not even close). After having tried all 4 sections, my friend and I both agreed with @ipsedixit: It’s like a better version of fast food Fried Chicken. Although maybe more like Pioneer Chicken than Popeyes (except for the spiciness).
The Chicken itself is still moist (thankfully), not overcooked.
The Fried Chicken Wing is a touch overcooked.
Their Fried Chicken Thigh and Leg are juicy, but all the pieces are bit too salty.
And as noted earlier, all of their Fried Chicken is served Spicy Only. There is no option to have Non-Spicy Fried Chicken.
The spice level feels like about a “Level 3 Medium” from Howlin’ Ray’s except nowhere near as nuanced. This just tastes like a lot of Cayenne Pepper for an immediate, light burn that goes away quickly when you stop, but you feel it when you eat it.
Lastly, after the meal we both felt like the meal was really greasy and heavy. None of my friends I’ve taken to Howlin’ Ray’s feels like that (nor when we used to hit up Flossie’s).
Their Baked Beans are overly sweet, and very much like the stereotypical “Baked Beans” you find in a bunch of places.
Their Slaw is also not very noteworthy. Very standard, watery mayonnaise like dressing.
Gus’s Fried Chicken feels like a spot to hit up if you can’t get to the awesome, handcrafted goodness of Howlin’ Ray’s Fried Chicken, but you just want something to scratch that itch. It’s nowhere near as compelling, interesting, nor as crispy / crunchy, nor as nuanced as Howlin’ Ray’s.
I’d definitely get Gus’s before having to resort to national fast food Fried Chicken. It’s tasty, but the seasonings and overall experience don’t make me crave it the way I used to crave Flossie’s (when they were good), or Howlin’ Ray’s.
Gus’s Fried Chicken
1262 Crenshaw Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Tel: (323) 402-0232