Huh, I think I have a nominee for next month’s DOTM. Only places with bullet proof glass
In Search of Golden, Crispy, Delectable Fried Chicken - Farmshop, Pann's, Jim Dandy, Huckleberry, The Brentwood, Republique, Honeybird, Howlin' Ray's and more!
You didn’t do the Bang Bang with Art’s Chili Dogs, which is at Florence and Normandie not far from Jim Dandy’s on Western and Manchester?
I did not. Is it worth a stop and potentially getting shot?
Wow ya’ll. Let’s get back to the topic at hand - fried chicken. Thanks for sharing the thumbs up for Jim Dandy’s. Sounds like it’s worth a try.
Thanks. You didn’t read my original post above? We’ve already tried Jim Dandy quite a few times (I think 8 visits now).
No it’s not as good as Howlin’ Ray’s (at all), but it’s very solid Fried Chicken (with some inconsistencies with the white meat sometimes). Thanks!
Ah sorry, I guess I missed it, or more accurately, just didn’t remember.
No worries. Yah it’s really solid, glad you liked it!
I really like the corn fritter at Jim Dandy. Comes with about 2 kernels of corn, but still awesome.
Yes, those fritters are delicious when fresh and hot. Note, they are dusted with powdered sugar.
It seems as if there will never be an end to more versions of Fried Chicken in our lovely City of Angels. So another Fried Chicken Journey was born…
New Fried Chicken specialist Lucky Bird is the brainchild of Chef Chris Dane, who according to Eater LA worked at Connie & Ted’s and Providence previously. It seemed like a solid pedigree so we were excited to see how Chef Dane’s version might turn out.
Located in Grand Central Market, there was only one other couple eating there with lots of empty seats.
Chicken Sandwich (Milk Bun, Pickles, Smoked Paprika Aioli):
The first bite yielded a soggy Fried Chicken Breast patty. Looking closely we could see it’s oil-laden, seemingly fried at the wrong temperature. The Smoked Paprika Aioli added a light, creamy heat, but wasn’t enough to save this Sandwich.
One of the most interesting sounding Sides was that Lucky Bird served Fried Chicken Skins (instead of Fries)! This could be amazing.
Sadly, like their Fried Chicken Sandwich, this was just disappointing: The Fried Chicken Skins were barely crispy. Perhaps they were sitting around too long? But they lacked any magic that great Fried Skin dishes have.
3 Piece Fried Chicken:
The Grated Lemon Zest was a nice touch and the best part of this Fried Chicken. There was pretty much zero crunchiness or crispiness. Just softish outside batter. The Free-Range Organic Chicken meat is a nice idea, and was generally moist, but the weak execution in the batter and seasonings made this something we wouldn’t return to anytime soon.
Their Biscuits were slightly warm, a little bit flaky and a bit dry.
(at Grand Central Market)
317 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Part of the new wave of restaurants at the newly remodeled Beverly Center, Yardbird is part of a mini-chain with locations in Miami, Las Vegas and Singapore. This didn’t sound that appealing at first, but thanks to @TheCookie’s recommendation, we decided to give it a try.
Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade (Signature Punch with Wild Turkey Bourbon, Blackberry Puree, Fresh Lemon, Cardamom & Angostura Bitters):
This sounded great, but it didn’t really evoke “Lemonade” for me. It was predominantly too much Wild Turkey Bourbon.
Mama’s Biscuits (Honey Butter, House-Made Jam):
These arrived piping hot (which is always a plus). The Honey Butter added that nice sweet-luscious component. It lacked the really airy, flaky, fragrant goodness of completely scratch-made Biscuits that were just out of the oven, like the ones we had at Plow at 7:00 a.m. which were a delight, but it was a solid Biscuit overall, and respectable considering this was a mini-chain.
Dandelion Greens (Sea Island Red Peas, Pickled Fresnos, Bacon Vinaigrette):
Delicious! One of their new Seasonal Items, the Dandelion Greens were nicely cooked down to a tender consistency, adding a slightly (delightful bitterness), which went so well with the Sea Island Red Peas which had an even earthiness, different from Black-Eyed Peas (which I like as well). There was a bit of sweetness from the Tomatoes, and then a nice porkiness from the Bacon chunks and Bacon Vinaigrette.
Chicken ‘n’ Watermelon ‘n’ Waffles (Whole Chicken, Honey Hot Sauce, Chilled Spiced Watermelon, Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese Waffle, Bourbon Maple Syrup):
First, it should be noted that this isn’t technically “Fried Chicken,” as thanks to @TheCookie and FTC’ers earlier, we found out it was Broasted Chicken, which in this dish yielded a similar end result of slightly crunchy, moist, hot “Fried” Chicken.
Secondly, there is this deep permeation of flavor, down to the bone, thanks to their brine and then frying in Pork Lard (thanks @MrGuyGuyGuy for the info). This gives it a nice base layer of flavor not found in many of the Fried Chicken places we’ve tried on this journey.
The Chicken Breast meat was moist, but just a touch overcooked, but still very solid.
The Leg and Thigh meat was moist and juicy still, but the best part was that there was actually a slight crunch to the crust, much better than the Lucky Bird Fried Chicken we had earlier.
The Honey Hot Sauce added a Tabasco & Honey-type of heat to each bite if you liked (we enjoyed it more without it).
Their Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese Waffle was sadly rubbery though. Unlike the one @TheCookie had, this one tasted like they made a batch and it was sitting around to be quickly added to each plate of the Chicken as it went out (many tables were ordering this Chicken).
The Chilled Spiced Watermelon was a nice accompaniment, sweet, cool and lightly spiced (nothing too serious for heat).
Macaroni & Cheese (Five Artisanal Cheeses, Crispy Herb Crust):
The Mac & Cheese was average, unfortunately. A bit dried out on top, and the bottom was watery-creamy, with not enough cheesy goodness.
Overall, Yardbird showed potential, so we were excited to come back with more friends and see how consistent they were.
Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken (Petite Cheddar Waffle, Spiced Watermelon):
A red flag appeared during our lunch visit when after ordering the Fried Chicken plate, it came out of the kitchen in less than 5 minutes(!).
Looking at the puffy skin above (and in the next pic below), it’s clear the Chicken was made ahead of time and just sat around on a rack, unfortunately.
And taking a bite… it was nowhere near as good as our dinner visit: The exterior was soft, flaccid and lacked the slight crunchiness of our 1st visit.
The actual meat was mostly moist, but also not piping hot (it was warm).
The Waffles were rubbery as before, even cooler than before (so it was lukewarm).
The Spiced Watermelon was still pretty refreshing.
At this point it seems that Yardbird’s Lunch (on a weekday) is probably designed to be as quick as possible for the impatient lunch crowds, as the Fried Chicken was premade ahead of time and tasted that way. The 1st visit’s dinner version of the Fried Chicken was freshly cooked, piping hot and had a slight crunch in the skin. It remains to be seen which version is the “fluke” and which one is the norm.
But if it is the slightly crispy, piping hot, freshly made version, that’s good, and it makes Yardbird’s Fried (Broasted) Chicken a solid neighborhood spot if you were craving the dish. It’s nowhere near the caliber of Howlin’ Ray’s, and it is sold at a premium, so QPR hunters beware (Yardbird’s dinner Fried Chicken is $62 (+ tax & tip) for a whole bird which is more than 200% of the cost of Howlin’ Ray’s (which is superior). But if we were at Beverly Center shopping and suddenly had the urge to eat Fried Chicken, this’ll do just fine.
8500 Beverly Blvd, Suite 112
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Tel: (323) 250-8034
I had bookmarked this place thanks to an Eater LA article a while ago about Fried Chicken places in K-Town. Sitting in the same plaza as Kobawoo (one of the more popular Jonathan Gold-recommended places in Koreatown back in the day), the interestingly named 77 Kentucky might be completely overlooked if you don’t read Korean (we don’t, probably why we never noticed this place before).
Original Fried Chicken (“70’s Original Chicken is Lightly Battered with a Mild Taste”):
Visually, this Fried Chicken looks stunning! Nice golden brown hue, large Leg & Thigh pieces in a gigantic tray with Fries. Even though this is a Korean Fried Chicken joint, their Original Fried Chicken is very much in the American Fried Chicken vein (no Garlic-Soy or Honey + (other seasoning) sauces coating the Chicken that you might expect).
Taking a bite, it is very crispy and piping hot! Woo! Considering the journey so far this time, 77 Kentucky quickly shot up to the top for everyone’s favorite on this trip.
After taking more bites, perhaps 77 Kentucky’s Achilles’ Heel preventing it from being phenomenal is that the basic seasoning and flavors are rather one note. It’s not bad at all (quite tasty), but what makes L.A.'s best Fried Chicken spots standout (after the great, consistent crispy and/or crunchy exterior and moist, not overcooked meat) would be the seasoning in the crust and meat. At 77 Kentucky, it nails it for crispy exterior, moist, not overcooked meat and piping hot, made fresh to order, but the seasoning? It’s just OK.
(Note that I’m being nitpicky here because this is a Fried Chicken Journey and we’re trying to compare it against our gold standards to see how it stands up.)
Their French Fries were nice and crisped on the outside, piping hot and not too salty. Delicious as well.
At $21.99 for this giant plate of food, 77 Kentucky represents one of the better values for Fried Chicken that we tried. With its Original Fried Chicken being made fresh fried to order, with a crispy exterior and juicy interior, and nice crispy Fries, 77 Kentucky is one spot we’d be glad to return to the next time we’re in the area.
698 Vermont Ave #101
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Tel: (213) 263-2686
C.J. Boyd’s Fried Chicken
Located inside the new food hall, The Fields, C.J. Boyd’s Fried Chicken’s claim to fame is its pedigree in Chef-Owner Tim Hollingsworth (formerly of The French Laundry and now running Otium in Downtown L.A.). If Chef Johnny Ray Zone (also classically trained chef under some of the greats) can do it with Howlin’ Ray’s, perhaps C.J. Boyd’s might find similar success?
Firstly, walking into The Fields, it is very clear that this is a fast-casual “food court” type of setup. It is a beautiful space, but would the fast-casual kitchen staff be up to the task?
Looking over the menu, it is all a variety of Fried Chicken Sandwiches, with no Bone-In Fried Chicken options unfortunately.
Otium (Aji Verde, Shishito, Onion, Tomatoes, Soy, Lime):
The first bite of the Otium yields a satisfying crunch. It is thankfully crunchy, freshly made Fried Chicken. The addition of Waffle Fries in the Otium Fried Chicken Sandwich was a nice touch. The combination of Aji Verde, Shishito Pepper, Onions and Tomatoes worked, and made it a distinctive “fancy tasting” Fried Chicken Sandwich.
K-Town (Chili, Ginger, Cabbage, Daikon, Sesame Mayo):
This was less successful. The Chicken was still crunchy and freshly fried, but the flavors did not scream “K-Town” at all. Sure it had some Pickled Daikon and Cabbage and it was spicy, but to think that that alone is sufficient to call it “K-Town” and evoke that taste & feeling is a bit naive. This just tasted unbalanced (too tart overall).
Seasoned Waffle Fries:
The Seasoned Waffle Fries were hot and slightly crisped and delicious for the first few bites. Then after that, I started to notice how salty they were and it got saltier over time.
We wanted to try more of the options so we came back for a 2nd visit.
East LA (Salsa Macha, Cabbage, Cilantro, Lime Crema):
This was our 2nd favorite from the C.J. Boyd’s menu. Crunchy Fried Chicken patty, perhaps a touch too salty, but with a delicious Salsa Macha (spicy, nutty, aromatic), slightly cooled off by the Cabbage and Lime Crema.
The weak link is the slightly dryish Bread.
C.J. Boyd’s Fried Chicken stand turned out to be a solid Fried Chicken Sandwich option for this part of the city. Certainly better than The Crack Shack and some of the other options we have. While the dryish Bread and unbalanced flavors in some of the options (like the K-Town) throw things off, the Otium and East L.A. Sandwiches are much more balanced and interesting.
C.J. Boyd’s Fried Chicken
(at The Fields food hall)
3939 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Howlin’ Ray’s (Revisit)
Of course we had to cap things off by a revisit to the reigning champion. @js76wisco was wondering what the wait was like at 1 p.m. We’re not sure, but this is what it looked like at 10:20 a.m. on a weekday (above). We were 6th in line (the other 5 people were just sitting on the bench). I haven’t seen Howlin’ Ray’s front door this empty since the early days when we showed up ahead of time.
So @js76wisco @Sgee and others, if you’re able to make it on a weekday brunch hour, that might be your best bet. Note that by 10:30 a.m. there were 15 - 20 people and by 11:00 a.m. opening, the line wrapped around to Chego’s front door. But it still seemed to move pretty fast (now that they’re more efficient these days).
(Complimentary) Fried Pickles:
If they have time, ask them for some Fried Pickles, and they might make a batch. They are delightfully crispy and crunchy yielding a nice salty-piquant inside from their excellent Pickles.
The Sando (Boneless Breast, Slaw, Comeback Sauce, Pickles, Butter Bun), Level 2 “Mild” Style (“Brush of Heat”):
Taking a bite… Pillowy soft Bun (that doesn’t disintegrate and holds up), crunchy Slaw giving way to the perfect crispy-crunchy Free-Range Fried Chicken Breast. The Comeback Sauce and all of the flavors and that light burning heat from Level 2.
It really puts to shame every single other Fried Chicken Sandwich around L.A. and is the best one we’ve ever tried.
Market Side: Collard Greens:
It is when you’ve had a bite of Chef Zone and Howlin’ Ray’s Collard Greens, long stewed, slow-cooked goodness, not too salty, intensely savory (from some of the Pork Belly in the base and balanced seasonings) that you realize just how amazing the Collard Greens are.
Fried Chicken Dark (Leg & Thigh), Level 1 "Country” Style (“No Heat”):
Just look at the gorgeous golden crust. The lack of oiliness. Then taking a bite…
If Joy could be encapsulated in a single bite, it might very well be in taking a bite of Howlin’ Ray’s Fried Chicken. It begins with a crispiness and crunchiness, yielding directly into perfectly seasoned, moist, juicy Chicken meat within. The Free Range Chicken tastes of quality, the blend of seasoned batter, fat completely rendered out, moist, juicy Chicken meat within is just !
It is SO far beyond every single Fried Chicken place we tried on this journey, there is no comparison.
Fried Chicken Wing, Level 3 “Medium" Style (“Feel The Burn”):
Perhaps it’s been a while since we last visited, or they might’ve adjusted their spice level slightly, but @CiaoBob @paranoidgarliclover @J_L and others might be happy to know that Level 3 Medium is slightly hotter and spicier (for those that felt Level 3 wasn’t hot enough and Level 4 (with the introduction of the Ghost Chili Pepper is too hot)).
This was perfectly fried and the heat level was great! There was a nice bit of heat without being unpleasant, and it just added to the happiness that is the crispy-crunchy Fried Chicken Wing (@TheCookie).
Howlin’ Ray’s continues to be consistently delicious and awesome in its execution of great Fried Chicken and Fried Chicken Sandwiches and Collard Greens (and all of the Off-Menu fun). Perhaps the most encouraging and great aspect is that Chef Zone hasn’t manned the line since the early days, and his staff (even with new hires to run the expanded kitchen capacity) delivers the same level of great, perfectly cooked Fried Chicken and the entire operation is run like a professional, Michelin-starred kitchen… that happens to be playing and bopping to “California Love” by 2Pac and Dr. Dre.
Tuesday - Sunday
11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Now Open on Tuesdays as well.
Howlin’ Ray’s Nashville Hot Chicken
727 N. Broadway Ave #128
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 935-8399
Is it so wrong to just scroll down the screen, looking for the [ ] ???
I know I ramble for too long, sorry!
Just joshin’… Great food sleuthing, as always ;-D
Thanks, I know. I just wish I had a boss like you: Buying Howlin’ Ray’s for your staff! So nice!
Have you had Night and Market’s chicken sandwich?
Thanks for Fried Chicken update @Chowseeker1999!
You & I had almost the same experience at Yardbird (albeit you’re more discerning(?)): Cocktails are not balanced, seasonal sides are deliciously creative, “fried” chicken is well-cooked & super flavorful (I’m going with your first visit). Our breast was actually oozing with juiciness, and I prefer the flavorful Jidori chicken over Mary’s very lean organic chicken. Don’t hunt me down! Howlin’ Ray’s is still the reigning champ - I’m talkin’ chickens, not preparation & skill.
Too bad about the waffle. I have to check it out again to see if they have consistency problems (ours definitely had a darker exterior) or if what I call egg-y, brioche-y you call rubbery. The swiss cheese inside definitely gives it a different consistency than your basic waffle. I adored this waffle combined w/the chicken, bourbon maple and splash of honey hot sauce.
Note to diners: Dinnertime (maybe brunch) seems to be the right time. Everything was fresh & hot.
Good Fried Seeking!
I’m off the next few weeks while I transition jobs. Might be a good time to go wait in line for fried chicken at 10:30. Thanks for the heads up @Chowseeker1999.
Oh yeah… and totally bummed about the Chicken Skins at Lucky Bird. They look like the stuff of my dreams.
No I haven’t yet. It’s on my list of things to try one of these days. Also it’s a bit of a hassle with Night + Market’s no reservation policy. It’s a crap shoot heading out and hoping there’s not a 45 min - 1+ hour wait (what happened to us the last time we tried to stop by). Did you like it?
Thanks! Yah I’m hoping it’s more like the 1st visit (and maybe dinner & brunch is the safer bet then). If so, it’s very solid and glad to have it in the area.
Have you had the Waffles at Howlin’ Ray’s yet? (Weekends Only) So crispy, light and airy, and great with their Fried Chicken.