Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fried Chicken, Two Ways

Last week, fried chicken enthusiasts from Kentucky to Korea were riveted by the announcement that KFC’s top-secret recipe had been safely restored to an upgraded, high-tech vault at its Louisville headquarters. But buried way down at the very end of the Associated Press report—and altogether omitted from most others—was the news that Colonel Sanders’ iconic chain will be unveiling a grilled chicken product.

The Louisville Courier-Journal pounced on the real story in today’s Business section, calling the planned April addition of Kentucky Grilled Chicken to the menu “the biggest piece of the brand’s turnaround plan.” What would the Colonel think?? The company’s aim is to woo women and health-conscious consumers, who might not relish the thought of genetically engineered poultry cooked in a vat of boiling oil. The thing is, just because I fall under both those categories doesn't mean I'm averse to fried chicken, and in yesterday’s case, I enjoyed it twice in one day.

First was brunch at Larkin’s in Eagle Rock. Housed in a restored Craftsman and decorated with antique photographs, mismatched chairs, and tables made from salvaged wooden doors, it feels like it could be the cozy dining room of the chef’s home. Larkin’s Country Style brunch pairs two pieces of fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits and homemade gravy. The drumstick and thigh had a flawlessly crisp crust without a hint of greasiness and were perfectly juicy on the inside. The biscuits were slightly too dense, but the creamy, subtly spicy gravy was addictive—I think I could've eaten a whole bowl of it with a spoon.

Larkin's Country Style

For dinner, we headed to bustling Sawtelle Blvd. in West LA to try GR Eats, the culinary companion to Giant Robot’s magazine and store-galleries. The decor is clean and modern, with walls graced by stunning Ai Yamaguchi paintings on wood. GR Eats' take on fried chicken, served with steamed rice and vegetables, consists of a generous portion of two thighs dipped in a sweet but light teriyaki sauce, resulting in a less crunchy skin but still satisfying flavor.

Teriyaki fried chicken at GR Eats

I admit I haven’t consumed KFC in decades, so it would be unfair to make comparisons. But with alternatives like these, I doubt I will anytime soon.


NLS said...

For the sake of the blog I will volunteer to have a meal at KFC. I will let you know how it compares to Larkins & GR Eats. Just to, you know, be fair.

nikisma said...

the front porch in SF does a great fried chicken. you should try it next time you are in town. the rest of their menu is pretty weak. i wrote a bad review on yelp and someone actually flamed me on it.

EYB said...

You mispelled coma.

HH said...

i don't have anything to contribute the fried chicken conversation, but you should do a post on two boots. wink wink.

P.S. i did remember correctly...the kitchen does have fried chicken...and i remember at least a couple people have told me that they like it there. here are the deets from the menu:
farm fresh 7oz boneless breast w/gravy, garlic
mashed & sauteed vegetables