So what’s this obsession with finding the highest level of fried chicken cooking? Wherever I travel I’m always keeping an eye or ear out for a restaurant that “supposedly” has great fried chicken. I’m not sure how this holy search for the perfectly cooked battered skin wrapped around a piece of meat and chicken bone came about. One thing I do know for certain, I’ve always enjoyed eating fried chicken ever since I was a kid and it was a meal that my mom took pride in cooking. Hmm..
This review of fried chicken is based around the area of New Orleans. A place that we come to often and have a lot of experience with the fried chicken scene. Fiorella’s – this was the first place I tried Fried Chicken in New Orleans. It’s located in the French Quarters and a place my daughter knew served tasty FC. The service was average and the restaurant itself was a hole in the wall that looked like it had been partitioned off with plywood. The chicken at Fiorella’s WAS excellent, USED to be delicious as of this writing I have no idea. We had gone there a couple of nights ago and the whole place had changed. Gone was the boarded plywood with stickers everything was clean and in place. It looked like nobody had eaten there for days. The hired workers were lounging at the tables with their gangsta rap music on. When the waiter came with the menus I told him no thanks. As it turns out Fiorella’s had switched owners. I’m not certain if the cook was switched out too and they just kept the restaurant name but due to the ambience we didn’t even give them a try to find out.
Scratch this spot from my list. – 0 Star
Since we didn’t try Fiorella’s we walked a whole half block on Decatur Street to our next destination. If you do a google search for fried chicken in the French Quarters Coops Place will definitely come up and more than likely be on top of the search engines listing.
Entering Coops Place restaurant environment was the opposite from place we just left. This place was packed inside and had a line forming outside. We opted to sit at the bar to avoid the longer wait.
I ordered the fried chicken of course with red beans and rice. It also came with a sausage and rabbit jambalya (heck of spicy).
The FC was pretty good as it didn’t have the super thick layered batter with a quarter inch of meat wrapped around a bone. The “style” is Cajun so for me it tends to be spicy which I prefer for the fixings but not as much for the actual fried chicken.
One remark I have to make is the rotten service. Perhaps it was the fact that they were busy or maybe because we sat at the bar and bartender was serving us (probably more so).
It didn’t take long for the bartender to take our order but once he did it seemed like we were invisible. He never came made the effort to see if we needed anything or if the food was good. This birdbrain was standing 3ft from us the whole time we ate! I spoke with a friend about Coops Place a couple of days later and he mentioned he had the same experience and he sat at a table.
Fried chicken is good but the service sucks – *** 3 Star
Dooky Chase – I actually found out about this place through an airport advertisement poster while departing New Orleans. After researching the establishments history it turns out it is one of the most famous fried chicken serving restaurant in New Orleans.
Many famous people and dignitaries have come to this place to eat Leah Chase’s Creole cooking. It is a big part of the New Orleans history since it has been around since the early1960’s and served as a social gathering spot for the civil right movement. The Fifth Ward location of Dooky Chase happens to be close to the French Quarter hotel we normally stay at during our NOLA visits. You can probably walk there but I recommend driving, especially if it’s towards the evening hours.
The restaurant itself surprised me in that I thought it was more upscale then the normal fried chicken joints I’m accustomed to going. Everything from the furniture to the African fine art hanging on the walls separates itself from the others. Due to the local tourism you will get patrons wearing shorts and casual ware which I happen to be wearing. The service was on key and you felt the Southern hospitality.
Now for my expert fried chicken evaluation. Damn it’s good! How good is damn good? Let me explain… we happened to arrive during lunch hours so we had a choice to order from the menu as usual or for a little more eat buffet style. We sat at a table near the buffet and my position was such that I was facing a rectangular metal container filled with fried chicken. Buffet wins!
I served myself with a couple pieces of chicken and the typical Southern side dishes. This chicken is “off the hook”! I’m not a big fan of the thick battered style fried chicken. I like a nice textured crunchy skin but not so hard it crumbles like a potato chip. The skin and meat were cooked perfectly. This is clearly a case if can cook they will come. I’m no expert in the different Louisiana cooking styles but I do know Leah Chase style is Creole. With that said, Creole fried chicken is one of my favorites!
Fried chicken is AWESOME – ***** 5 Star
I saved the best for last! Willie Mae’s Scotch house is the best of the best, fried chicken lovers heaven! I’ve eaten here before and so I know what to expect. Like many businesses in the area it started off in 1956 as one type and throughout the years morphed into what it is nationally known for today. The location is in the Fifth Ward just a block away from Dooky Chase which gives you an option if one or the other has a line around the block. Keep this in mind as you may have to wait awhile to be seated. the Food Channel claims it to be “The Best Fried Chicken in America” it has been featured in Bon Appetite magazine and the Travel Channel it’s a go to spot for the tourist crowd.
At the beginning of this blog I mentioned why even bother with a blog page about fried chicken. I’m thinking it has to do with trying to find someone that cooked fried chicken like my mom did. Willie Mae’s is hands down the closest I’ve come finding it.
During my most recent visit to NOLA I ate at four of the top rated fried chicken places in such a short period. I was able to compare my experience a bit more accurately. I have to thank my wife for putting up with this dining obsession as she more than likely orders fried chicken just to see what I’m raving about.
Willie Mae’s fried chicken has the same dark skin color and texture that I recall my moms used to have. The taste may be different but regardless it’s VERY good. Since I was visiting New Orleans to visit my newborn grandson I thought it would be fitting to order take out and have it over my kids new home. Our first fried chicken meal together, it had to be the best!