Sucking your fingers in the throes of a fried-chicken dinner is a social norm, no matter where you are. So, go ahead and mouth your hands like a toddler in between crunchy, juicy bites and wipe the greasy remains on a pant leg in celebration of this meal’s freedom from manners, utensils and grace.
Fried chicken tastes best late-night, so when the rest of the city’s sawing logs, I’m making a mess of myself at Best of the Best Quality Chicken (4768 Convoy St.), open till midnight Monday through Thursday, 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 p.m. Sunday. The signage can be confusing for first-timers who understand the acronym “BBQ” as something else—but the unmistakable waft of chicken-fry that’ll fill your nostrils from the parking lot assures that anything but slow-smoked meat is to come.
Instead, brace yourself for slow-fried chicken, a technique mastered by Koreans that puts most “Southern” styles to shame with its chicharon-like skin that’s achieved from a cornstarch batter. When twice-fried in extra-virgin olive oil, it forms a single crunchy barrier between eager teeth and soft, moist meat. If you don’t call 20 minutes in advance like the website and to-go menu instruct, prepare to wait in the odd-shaped, former Pizza Hut dining room at a dark booth; a sobering, fluorescent lit-table; or in front of the lone computer by the booster chairs—there for your internet-surfing pleasure.
Five pieces of the Olive Original Chicken are enough to feed two for $9.95 and come with a pleasant yet unnecessary five-spice barbecue-style sauce for dipping. When I bit into a drumstick, it lacked the essence of fryer flavor that taints chicken everywhere; rather, olive oil penetrates to the bone and somehow makes this the least-greasy version I’ve eaten.
Too often, fried chickens fly the coop flavor- and texture-wise. Either the coating sheds in one reptilian slough just after picking it up, tendons and stringy meat snap like rubber bands or thick, unseasoned breading is a bitch to get through. Forget this, and your moral obligations to craft beer, at this place, where on Mondays, your first pitcher of Coors Lite costs 99 cents.