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.


12 thoughts on “Fried Chicken

  1. Willie Bird’s restaurant in Santa Rosa has great pan fried chicken and it’s their Tuesday night special right now…soup or salad, potato and veggies for $10.95

  2. I do love the crispy goodness of a perfectly fried fowl but I must dispute Oyster Rockefellers place in your pantheon. Two measly pieces not well battered for a very high price. Stormy’s is way better but it takes a very long time to get served. I look forward to foraging out to try some of the other suggestions.

  3. Can we get back to bacon? Is pork belly a “that’s so 2008” menu trend also? If so, Heather, what is the new food/ingredient trend???

  4. My vote goes to the Red Rose Cafe. Go on Wednesday or Thursday, lunch of dinner, for the buffet and try their other treats while you are at it.

  5. I believe there are a few omissions here. First, What about Negri’s in Occidental. The Fried Chicken is Fresh…every day. Excellent Fritto Pollo. Second, has anyone ever stopped by Raleys around 5:30 anu afternoon and picked up one of the fresh fried chicken? Tasty for under $7.

  6. The Duck Club is an awesome restaurant for anniversaries and special dinners. It is a small, intimiate dining room. My favorite restaurant in Sonoma County. They also feature local, fresh products.

  7. Well, I was recently out at The Duck Club restaurant for a birthday dinner and had the fried chicken -and was wholly impressed! The new Executive Chef out there is only 29 years old- and the new menu was amazing!!!
    The Chef came out and wished me a happy birthday himself-nice.
    They also had an entire menu that was made from just one pig, which came from a farm a couple miles away. Our server was awesome too.
    We have reservations for Christmas dinner there-can’t wait!

  8. BarbersQ, true BBQ, damm good fried chicken, great wine list, service and management very good. For being in a shopping center BarberQ is a huge surprise and is one of my stops when in Napa. Not a hole-in-the- wall kind of BBQ joint, but very good place to land at for damm good food.

  9. one other ad hoc note– I went for fried chicken a few months ago with a friend who didn’t want fried chicken (even though that goes against the whole ad hoc ethos and makes no sense.) But they were very cool about it– and they made him fried skate instead! Only at at a Thomas Keller restaurant, perhaps, but there you go.

  10. Ad Hoc also serves their awesome fried chicken on the alternating Wednesdays. Worth the trip to Yountville.
    You can find this great fried chicken recipe that is supposed to be from Ad Hoc online, just google it.

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