Fried Chicken

The hunt for fried chicken

In my own little Justice League of comfort foods, fried chicken is the quiet, oft-missing Aquaman to ever-present mashed potatoes (Superman), macaroni and cheese (Batman) and meatloaf (Wonder Woman). Which is to say the dinner table hero I always kind of wonder what ever happened to.

Co-opted by the fast-food giants, it’s become a greasy, gristly shadow of its former self.

Fortunately a few old-timers are still doing it right and a handful of high-end restaurants are reclaiming fried chicken — digging out old recipes and giving this favorite picnic food its proper respect once again.

Patrick Tafoya, the new chef at the Duck Club Restaurant, is serving up his own take on fried chicken — a lemon-brined chicken double-dipped in buttermilk and batter, served on top of his homemade potato gnocchi, Brussels sprouts and thyme jus. It will make you rethink what fried chicken can actually be. (See video below).

I recently gave a shout out in the forums for some of your favorite spots to get this crispy grub. Some only serve it on Sundays, some on Tuesday, others on their own schedule altogether. Call ahead just to make sure.

Here are the results:
Zin Restaurant, Sunday Night Blue Plate of Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Collared Greens, Mashed Potatoes and Hot Biscuits. 344 Center St., Healdsburg, 473.0946.

BarbersQ: Solid haute BBQ in Napa. Fried chicken served Sunday only: 3900D Bel Aire Plaza, Napa, 224.660.

Duck Club Restaurant: Fried chicken and dumplings. 103 Coast Hwy One, Bodega Bay, 875.3525.

Rocker Oysterfellers: Open Wed. through Sun only. BiteClubbers rave about this version. 14415 Coast Hwy. 1, Valley Ford, 876.1983.

Red Rose Cafe: 1770 Piner, 573-9741.

Ad Hoc: Thomas Keller’s legendary fried chicken served every other Monday. Call ahead. 6476 Washington St., Yountville, 944-2487

Stormy’s: Best known for their big old slabs of beef, this roadhouse also does up a nice fried chicken. Only open Thursday through Sat. 6650 Bloomfield Rd., Old Town Bloomfield, 95-0127    

Twin Oaks Tavern : Tuesday nights (5745 Old Redwood Hwy, Penngrove, 795-5118). Unconfirmed.

Sam’s for Play: 2630 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa. Deep Fried Chicken.