oc's best fried chicken - Three Seventy Common

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Dec 3, 2015 ... thing else on the menu – es- pecially those powdery ... At Grandma's Chicken House in Cypress, pair your bird ... heim Packing House, 440.
SEC: Life

DT: 12-03-2015 ZN: 1 ED: 1 PG #: 1

PG: Cover_E

BY: dcomfort TI: 12-02-2015 14:51 CLR: C K Y M 1

THURSDAY, DEC. 3, 2015 1

LIFE FOOD The

BUCKETlist

O.C.'S BEST FRIED CHICKEN Believe it or not, KFC sets the bar, and few can rise above it. SEE SEE PAGE PAGE 44

The best fried chicken in Orange County is at 370 Common in Laguna Beach, says critic Brad A. Johnson – but it’s available only one day a month.

PAUL RODRIGUEZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

COOKING WITH O.C. CHEFS

A HOLIDAY DINNER FIT FOR A BOSS SEE PAGE 2

‘TOP CHEF’

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SEC: Life DT: 12-03-2015 ZN: 1 ED: 1 PG #: 4

PG: PageC_E

BY: dcomfort TI: 12-02-2015 14:06 CLR: C K Y M

LIFE | FOOD

Life 4 Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 1

The Orange County Register

REVIEW

THE PICK OF THE FLOCK 370 Common and Grits are among the local few who can beat KFC’s fried chicken.

stack up:

GRITS What you get: All-you-caneat fried chicken, family style, with a punk-rock riff on classic sides, plus dessert When: Sunday nights Cost: $26 Better than KFC? Definitely Bonus: $1 off all beer and wine by the glass on Sunday nights. Where: 133 W. Chapman Ave., No. 102, Fullerton; 714449-0939; gritsfullerton.com

Story and photos by BRAD A. JOHNSON RESTAURANT CRITIC

I have a confession. I eat Kentucky Fried Chicken. I blame it on my late grandmother, who stopped cooking fried chicken after she discovered the Colonel’s original recipe. From that point on, she put away her cast-iron skillet, and if we ate fried chicken at her house, it came from a bucket, not her own kitchen. I was weaned on the original recipe, but I later graduated to extra-crispy. It’s been seven months since my last transgression, but the Colonel’s chicken frequently occupies my mind, like the time last month when I was reaching into a bucket and licking my fingers at 370 Common in Laguna Beach. Those 11 herbs and spices were all I could think about last week, too, as I was tackling a plate of spiceless fried chicken at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles in Anaheim. In reality, I don’t eat at KFC often because while I love their chicken, everything else on the menu – especially those powdery mashed potatoes and metallic-tasting gravy – turns my stomach. But that chicken is hard to resist, so whenever I find myself eating Southern fried chicken somewhere else, I always ask, “Is this better than KFC?” Chef Ryan Adams’ fried chicken at 370 Common is exponentially superior to KFC, served family style

CHICKEN COOP What you get: Three pieces of “broasted” chicken (same high-pressure frying technique as KFC), plus oldschool iceberg lettuce salad, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. When: Lunch and dinner daily Cost: $12 Better than KFC? Chicken, yes. Mashed potatoes, no. Bonus: Time-warp atmosphere Where: 414 N. Newport Blvd., Newport Beach; 949645-6086; chickencoopnb .com

Grits in Fullerton serves all-you-can-eat fried chicken with sides such as slaw and spicy pickles.

GRANDMA’S CHICKEN HOUSE

Chicken Coop in Newport Beach uses the same frying technique that KFC uses.

At Grandma’s Chicken House in Cypress, pair your bird with a serving of huge french fry wedges.

with phenomenal mashed potatoes and gravy, along with fresh green beans, kale salad, coleslaw and leafy greens braised with pork belly. Chicken night comes only once a month at 370

The cumin-laced slaw and chili-spiked pickles pair perfectly with a wide selection of craft beers on tap. Grandma’s Chicken House in Cypress? Porthole on the Balboa Peninsula?

Common, so you really must plan ahead. Chef Cody Storts similarly serves fried chicken every Sunday night at Grits in Fullerton. His chicken, too, is seriously better than KFC.

Both are good, but only one is better than KFC. Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern? Disneyland’s Carnation Cafe? Georgia’s Soul Food? The Chicken Coop and more? Here’s how they all

What you get: Crisp “broasted” chicken (same high-pressure frying technique as KFC) and fried potato wedges. When: Lunch and dinner daily Cost: Two pieces, $5.50 Better than KFC? Yes, although the coleslaw looks and tastes identical. Bonus: Gigantic french fries, best eaten straight from the fryer. Where: 6072 Lincoln Ave., Cypress; 714-527-3162 S E E C H I C K E N ● PA G E 1 0

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SEC: Life

DT: 12-03-2015 ZN: 1 ED: 1 PG #: 10

PG: Back_E

BY: dcomfort TI: 12-02-2015 14:05 CLR: C K Y M

LIFE | FOOD

Life 10 Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 1

The Orange County Register

CHICKEN

way, of Shake ’n Bake, but with serious depth and soul. Plus, chipotle potato salad, coleslaw and ultrabuttery corn bread. When: Daily, lunch and dinner Cost: Two pieces for $10 Better than KFC? Yes, dramatically Bonus: Jalapeno agave syrup on the side Where: 4th Street Market, 201 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana; 714-486-0700; 4thstreetmarket.com/pfc

F R O M PA G E 4

ROSCOE’S HOUSE OF CHICKEN AND WAFFLES What you get: Flavorless fried chicken made with the absolute bare minimum of breading and spice, plus soggy waffles or overly salty gravy. When: Lunch and dinner daily Cost: Two pieces, two waffles, $13 Better than KFC? No Bonus: None Where: 2110 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim; 714-8234130; roscoeschicken andwaffles.com

PHOTOS: BRAD A. JOHNSON, STAFF

Perhaps it should be renamed Roscoe’s House of Bland Chicken and Soggy Waffles.

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in Dana Point cooks up a tender, juicy bird.

Cornmeal-coated chicken is fried till crisp at Georgia’s inside the Anaheim Packing House.

Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant in Buena Park is on par with KFC.

GEORGIA’S What you get: Three pieces of cornmeal-battered chicken fried to a deep, dark brown crisp, served with choice of soul food sides. When: Lunch and dinner daily Cost: $11 Better than KFC? Yes Bonus: Authentic Southern-style collard greens Where: Inside the Anaheim Packing House, 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., No. 209A, Anaheim; 714-9061900; georgias-restaurant .com

JIMMY’S FAMOUS AMERICAN TAVERN What you get: Two pieces of remarkably tender, juicy, buttermilk-fried boneless chicken, with creamy gravy, buttery mashed potatoes and green beans. When: Lunch and dinner daily Cost: $18 Better than KFC? Yes, exponentially Bonus: It’s all about the gravy. Be sure to ask for extra! Where: 25001 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point; 949-388-8900; j-fat.com

REUNION What you get: Two pieces of boneless, beautifully seasoned fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits, red-eye gravy and mashed Yukon gold potatoes. When: Lunch and dinner daily Cost: $17 Better than KFC? Yes Bonus: Absolutely perfect biscuits and sausagestudded gravy. Where: 5775 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road, Anaheim Hills; 714-283-1062; reunionkitchen.net

LUCILLE’S SMOKEHOUSE BBQ What you get: Two boneless breasts marinated in buttermilk and fried to a golden crisp, served with

mashed potatoes and veggies. When: Lunch and dinner daily Cost: $19 Better than KFC? Yes (sampled only the Tustin location) Bonus: Blues bands every Saturday night. Where: The District, 2550 Park Ave., Tustin; 714-259-1227; lucillesbbq.com

CARNATION CAFE What you get: A single and rather small, boneless breast of buttermilk-fried chicken with mashed potatoes, delicious gravy and sauteed vegetables. When: Lunch and dinner daily Cost: $16.50 Better than KFC? Yes, but

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the portion is small Bonus: Vanilla malt for dessert! Where: Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A., Anaheim; 714-781-3463; disneyland.disney.go.com

small. Where: Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A., Anaheim; 714-781-3463; disneyland.disney.go.com

PLAZA INN

What you get: A single rubbery breast with part of the wing attached, plus mashed potatoes and spinach. When: Dinner only Cost: $18 Better than KFC? No Bonus: Beer and wine Where: 514 W. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach; 949-287-6808; portholechipshop.com

What you get: Three pieces of bone-in fried chicken with mashed potatoes and strangely disgusting gravy. You get a lot of food here, but it pales in comparison to Carnation Cafe’s across the street. When: Lunch and dinner daily Cost: $16.50 Better than KFC? Chicken, yes. Gravy, no. Bonus: Sometimes they give you four pieces instead of three if the attendant thinks they look

PORTHOLE

PFC What you get: Incredibly succulent chicken with a fine-crumb cereal crust that reminds me, in a good

MRS. KNOTT’S CHICKEN DINNER RESTAURANT What you get: The most popular option is the threepiece dinner that includes very simple fried chicken with mashed potatoes that are as hard as a brick, plus soup or salad, sweet rhubarb and boysenberry pie. When: Lunch and dinner daily Cost: $20 Better than KFC? Chicken, too close to call. Mashed potatoes, no. Bonus: Boysenberry pie, plus charming granny waitresses in housemaid outfits with lace collars and cardigan sweaters. Where: Knott’s Berry Farm California Marketplace, 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park; 714-220-5055; www.knotts.com

370 COMMON What you get: Family style feast of fried chicken, served in a bucket, with pork-belly-braised greens and all the classic fixin’s. When: Dinner only on the last Sunday of the month Cost: Adults $39, children $19.50 Better than KFC? Yes. Easily the best fried chicken in O.C. Bonus: Spicy honey dipping sauce, plus coconut cake Where: 370 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach; 949494-8686; 370common.com C O N TA C T T H E W R I T E R :

[email protected] or on Instagram: @bradajohnson

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