Legendary Fried Chicken & Nashville Hot Chicken Hits L.A. - Howlin' Ray's New Restaurant!


#343

Correct. Hence the VERY long lines yesterday. :wink:


#344

Ordered a dark (still mild) to-go yesterday. Don’t know what it tasted like “fresh,” but the crust was still crunchy and the meat still tender and juicy 2 hrs later. :smiley: Good stuff.

Curiously, I thought the dark was even MORE mild than my sandwich. I haven’t sampled much fried chicken, but I thought it was merely very good and agree that the sandwich is def the way to go (IMHO).


#345

Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Nice! :slight_smile: I would say give their Level 1 Country Fried Chicken a try fresh out of the fryer, piping hot, crispy-crunchy crust before going Sandwich only! :wink:

I’m hoping Chef Zone can start bringing their Market Specials back, like their Jalapeno Mac & Cheese, Watermelon Salad and other items.


#346

I agree. My husband and I were going to each meet a friend there, his a former lab tech/student and mine a friend, and we were late. We texted to say we were going to be late and they got in line. When a friend texted back to say the wait was an hour, we said hell no, but the friend said I’m already and line and want to eat here. We arrived and had only around 30 minutes to wait after cutting in line. Luckily, I’d read that the best was the county style, which we got a whole chicken of. Also tried the medium and hot. Hot was flavorless except for the heat (they made me sample before they would order it - not too hot for my palate but just no other flavors). Def not worth getting again - the hot. The rest was fine, but it was super messy eating with no cocktails or beer. For me, not worth it even the 30 minute wait. If the line were to shorten or the kitchen to enlarge, maybe we would return for take-out.

But agree with Chowseeker1999, great for them that they are busy!


#347

Update 8:

(Reposting an excerpt from our latest visit in the Fried Chicken Journey thread.)

I’ve lost count on the number of visits to Howlin’ Ray’s by now :slight_smile:, but for the sake of clarity, we wanted to go back and see how it compared. (21st Visit?)

Fried Pickles:

Don’t forget to ask nicely for some Fried Pickles if you go! Chef Johnny Ray Zone makes this off-menu item, and he needs to put this on the menu. It’s so good! :slight_smile:

Crunchy-crisp Fried Pickles give you a textural contrast, and it mellows out the Pickles’ tartness. :slight_smile:

Complimentary Pickles:

Excellent as usual.

Fried Chicken Dark (Leg & Thigh), “Country” Style (Level 1 - No Heat) & Waffles:

Ridiculous. :heart:

Perfect crispy-crunchy Batter, wonderfully seasoned Chicken that permeates to the bone, juicy… excellent Fried Chicken! :blush:

Their Waffles are made fresh-to-order, and Chef Zone’s Waffle recipe is just excellent. It’s balanced, fragrant and the Waffles are toasty-crunchy-crisp!

Where so many restaurants think of Waffles as a throwaway item, or make them in batches, each Waffle is made-to-order, and they arrive piping hot and crisped! So good! :slight_smile:

Make sure you eat them right away! :wink:

One note to people visiting for the first time: Try to eat Howlin’ Ray’s Fried Chicken fresh, on the spot. :slight_smile: There’s nothing sadder than our last visit, watching someone take away about 30 - 40 boxes of Fried Chicken To-Go. They were then organizing and separating them out and divvying them up with friends, who then took their batch to bring to their cars (this was another 20+ minutes of them just checking various boxes after leaving the restaurant).

If you take it To-Go, you’re steaming the Fried Chicken (and Waffles if you ordered any), so it won’t taste as good.

Collard Greens:

Chef Zone’s Collard Greens are still THE best-tasting Southern-style Collard Greens I’ve ever had in L.A.! :slight_smile: There’s a warming, long-stewed, slow-cooked deliciousness about them. Made with Pork Belly, Paprika and other spices, it’s a must-order!

Fried Chicken White (Breast & Wing), Level 2 “Mild” Style (Brush of Heat):

Delicious! For those wanting just a tiny bit of heat with your Chicken, give their Level 2 “Mild” a try. While Level 3 “Medium” is the sweet spot for me, we took it easy today. :wink: It’s fragrant, wonderfully spicy (not heat-wise, but their blend of spices) and their Chicken Breast is perfectly cooked through, moist and juicy! :blush:

Looking back on all of these Fried Chicken offerings around L.A., and seeing what Howlin’ Ray’s does, the level of disparity between Howlin’ Ray’s and everyone else is so dramatic, it’s baffling.

But you can see Chef Zone and his kitchen crew working when you enter (it’s an open kitchen). I think heart, genuinely caring and wanting to make THE best Fried Chicken in the city, makes all the difference (besides Chef Zone’s classically trained pedigree and experience working with Thomas Keller and Gordon Ramsey).

And when you consider you can get a quarter of a Fried Chicken (Breast & Wing or Leg & Thigh) for $9, or if you order half a Fried Chicken (all 4 sections that you can mix and match flavors for) for only $15, and it’s just absurd how affordable it is, and it’s the best Fried Chicken in L.A. by leaps and bounds.

Outstanding! :blush:

Initial Hours (extended Hours will be added once they settle in):

Wed - Sun
11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Howlin’ Ray’s Nashville Hot Chicken
727 N. Broadway Ave #128
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 935-8399


#348

While this is true, I have to say that, w/ my one visit (eating on the spot and having some to-go), I was genuinely shocked at how well the chicken travels. I had it at least 1-2 hrs later (if not more), and it was still fairly crispy.

I still dream about that chicken sandwich… :slight_smile:

I know nothing about the chef, aside from a brief encounter (like everyone else who comes to the cafe), but my strong impression is that he does not suffer fools easily (incl in his kitchen)…


#349

Strongly agree. What always strikes me is how he runs that kitchen with the precision and attention to detail of a fine-dining establishment. His wife(?) in the front of the house is also obviously a pro.

Reheats surprisingly well, too. In fact, I would recommend reheating the hot chicken as the spice coating gets a little heavy/oily as it cools.


#350

Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Yah that’s a great point; it does travel pretty well surprisingly, but it’s great to eat it fresh at the restaurant though. :wink: What spice level did you end up topping out at? Was it spicy enough for you?


#351

I just got mild. No, not spicy enough. :wink: But I saw one man coming out fanning his mouth, and he said he got “medium.” I don’t know when I’ll be able to return, so I didn’t want to ruin my first experience w/ overly hot. :slight_smile:


#352

Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Good move! :slight_smile: Next time try the Level 3 Medium and a Level 1 Country (no spice, classic Fried Chicken). :slight_smile:


#353

I finally had this chicken. I am definitely in the minority as I did not love it. It was OK. But, it is simply not how I like my fried chicken. First, I give them props for cooking the chicken perfectly. The breast and all the pieces were cooked to be juicy and tender. especially amazing when they leave the pieces in tact.

What didn’t I like? I do not like that much crust on my chicken. I like a thin layer. I got the mild. I did not like the spices on it. It was ok, but next time (yes, I’ll try it again) I’ll get chicken wings only and get country style (the kind with nothing sprinkled on it) or the sandwich. I also don’t like my chicken pieces attached. I like the leg and thigh and wing separate. When I cut them apart most of the crust fell off, which was a good thing for me. I also don’t like these humongous chicken pieces. I start wondering what the hell are they feeding these chickens to make them like turkeys. lol.

anyway, More for you guys. I’m glad I tried it.


#354

Update X:

Kickin’ the weekend off right… :slight_smile:

Fried Pickles:

When Chef Zone and his top notch staff can execute Fried Pickles, lightly crispy, crunchy, with a texture better than most Fried Chicken we’ve tried in L.A., you know you’re in good hands. :slight_smile:

Unsweetened Peach Ice Tea:

As refreshing as always.

Fried Chicken Wings, “Country” Style (Level 1 - No Heat):

Just look at the golden color. :slight_smile: Taking a bite, it is flawless: Just that perfect intersection of crispy, crunchy, juicy, fantastic! :blush:

(Secret Menu) Fries, “Mario Style” (Level 3 - Medium):

And then we get this newly discovered Secret Menu item: Order of French Fries, “Mario Style.” Looking at it arrive, we were flabbergasted. :open_mouth: It’s their freshly fried, crispy French Fries, piping hot, topped with the Free-Range Boneless Fried Chicken Breast (from their legendary Fried Chicken Sandwich), chopped up, Comeback Sauce and Cheese. :open_mouth:

The first bite (making sure you get some of the Fries, Free-Range Fried Chicken Breast, Comeback Sauce and Cheese) is absurd! LOL. It’s over-the-top, but it works. Forget “Animal Style,” this “Mario Style” Fries are worth trying at least once. So good! :slight_smile:

Collard Greens:

Their Collard Greens continue to be the best in the city. Long-stewed, tender, perfectly seasoned, so savory and thankfully not too salty (like most places).

Fried Chicken Dark (Leg & Thigh), “Country” Style (Level 1 - No Heat):

Really I’ve run out of words to describe how good their Fried Chicken is. It is simply:

Perfection. :heart:

The batter is that perfect delta of crispy and crunchy, super clean and fresh and so juicy!

Fried Chicken Wings, “Medium” Style (Level 3 Heat):

I’m beginning to worry: Perhaps we’ve been to Howlin’ Ray’s so much I’m beginning to build up a tolerance, but I was able to handle their Level 3 Medium Heat with barely any problem! :sweat_smile: It has a nice, low-burning heat, but it’s noticeable immediately. You feel it, but it’s manageable. I definitely don’t want to fool myself into getting Level 4 Hot (“Burn, Baby, Burn”), which I’ve tried once and vowed never to again, LOL. :slight_smile:

The Wings were also just wonderful, their spice mixture for Level 3 is interesting, layered and dances off the tongue.

Chef Zone continues to run his kitchen flawlessly, everyone’s on point, they continue to excel at customer service, making everyone feel at home and welcome, no matter who you are.

Howlin’ Ray’s Fried Chicken is so far ahead of everyone else in L.A., and their prices are fair as well (e.g., $15 for Half a Fried Chicken (4 pieces)). It remains a shining beacon in our culinary landscape. :slight_smile:

Initial Hours (extended Hours will be added once they settle in):

Wed - Sun
11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Howlin’ Ray’s Nashville Hot Chicken
727 N. Broadway Ave #128
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 935-8399


#355

Thanks for the report back @Luluthemagnificent. I feel you on the connected pieces. Chef Zone had mentioned that was the way it was prepared in Nashville, and he’s honored that style. It’s also allowed his team to cook all of the pieces consistently, so I’m not complaining. :wink:

But yah, if you don’t like the Level 2 spices (it is distinct), definitely try the Level 1 Country (no spices), which is my favorite way to enjoy it anyways. :slight_smile:

And definitely give their Fried Chicken Sandwich (Boneless) a try; it’s pretty tasty, and get an order of Country Wings to see how that holds up for you. Glad to hear your Fried Chicken was perfectly cooked and juicy, though. :slight_smile:


#356

Howlin Rays needs to bring back the thick cut pickles. I liked the sandwich more with that crisp, refreshing pop of acidity.


#357

Hi @A5KOBE,

I wonder if we can ask Chef Zone to cut them thicker to order? I might try that next time. :slight_smile: But how much thicker were they compared to the current thickness?


#358

They were a good 10-12mm in thickness before. Here is a picture from the food truck days.


#359

"…it’s pretty tasty…"
Are you outta your mind Chowseeker1999? Chef Zone’s ‘The Sandwich’ is the tastiest f’ing fried chicken sandwich I’ve ever tasted. Tried it back in their food truck days when he first introduced it. Superb then and it seems even better now! Xtra Hot usually, Howlin Hot is one of my personal life goals haha…
P.S I really like your posts, reminds me of the poster on that other board that was so brilliant and then kissed it off or was exiled to who knows where! Keep it up!


#360

That’s part of my issue with Howlin Ray’s.

Any spice level above Mild, and all one tastes is the heat. A flat, non-nuanced heat. Reminds me a bit of the Orochan ramen challenge (Spice Level #2). All heat, no balance. And if the chicken is prepped at Mild or Country, there’s no taste or flavor. It doesn’t even really taste like chicken.

The chicken sandwich is pretty good, but I much prefer Trencher’s version, or Alimento’s Chicken Milanese, or even Orsa & Winston’s haute version of KFC’s Chicken Little.


#361

Hi @ipsedixit,

Interesting. Thanks for the thoughts on HR. For us (and a small sample size of some friends who’ve tried Howlin’), I think their Country (Level 1) is just a well-seasoned, excellent Fried Chicken (not bland). After trying countless places (in the Fried Chicken thread), none of them come close to the taste, quality, juiciness, crispiness / crunchy balance as Howlin’ Ray’s (and we were hoping for closer alternatives than driving out to DTLA).

As for Spice, Level 2 actually has nuanced flavor, as does Level 3 Medium, but that’s just my palate. :sweat_smile: Level 4, I agree, I can’t taste anything any more and it’s too hot for me. :frowning: But I found 2 and 3 to be good, but definitely respect your opinion. Thanks!


#362

I guess I’m just a KFC Original Recipe Luddite.