Eating ... Crow?
Fried chicken revisited
When I wrote the story about my quest for fried chicken ("Yardbird's Blues," June 29), I expected -- in fact, I hoped -- to hear back from people telling me about their favorite fried-chicken place that was left out. Indeed I did, from readers accusing me of being a poor researcher to long-lost friends sending e-mails like, "Loved the fried chicken piece. I'm hungry now," or, "Can I please borrow the chicken suit?"
I received more comments for this feature than any other I have ever written. Thanks to everyone for reading and caring to comment. As a follow-up, I am offering a short recap of readers' suggestions and recent discoveries to add to the fried-chicken repertoire.
The morning after the story appeared, the ever-cheerful Gene Tumbs -- chef and owner of Gene's New Orleans Style Poboys & Deli (1209 E. 11th, 477-6600) -- showed up at the Chronicle with a pile of freshly fried chicken. Since I don't office at the paper, I missed out on Gene's legendary generosity, but the staff enjoyed a great lunch, and I was glad to stand corrected. I don't know how I missed it on the menu that day, but I have since returned, and I can safely say that the fried chicken at Gene's is wonderful, as is every item on their menu. Sorry for the mistake, Gene and Claudia.
Another reader reminded me of Terry's Seafood and Chicken (1805 Airport, 477-3233). This tiny shack is home to some of Austin's tastiest fried seafood, and they make a mean fried chicken, as well. No breasts here, just crispy legs, thighs, and wings. The batter is light and flavorful, and the chicken is always hot. The small countertop dinning room is full of regulars and neighborhood people, and take-home business is also brisk. They offer family packs of chicken and catfish, and the staff could not be friendlier.
I honestly cannot say why Arkie's Grill (4827 E. Cesar Chavez, 385-2986) escaped my mind. They have hand-battered fried chicken on the regular menu, but you better get there early, because they might well sell out. Besides, they're open only Monday through Friday till 3pm. I also had fried chicken at Bill Miller BBQ (1930 W. William Cannon, 444-1032) upon an acquaintance's recommendation, but I wasn't very impressed. The chicken wasn't crispy, and the batter had a slight taste of raw flour. I'll give them a second chance in case it was a fluke day.
Last, but most definitely not least, is RedCap Chick (2510 S. Congress, 416-1134). A Korean family has taken over the former Golden Chicken location and is making some tasty fried chicken, original and spicy. In another one of those ethnic fried-chicken twists, they also have a Korean fried-chicken special in two flavors: sweet garlic and hot pepper. The chicken is hacked into small pieces, battered and fried, then tossed in the sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The hot pepper sauce is sticky and has a hint of sweetness and a nice, tangy bite. These make a great snack for parties and will be on my staple list now that football season is upon us!(de-)feathered friends and favorites.