Photo credit: SinoSoul
Those close to me know that one of my most guilty pleasures is fried chicken. I don’t eat much of it, but when I do, it’s ugly – I can probably eat a whole bucket by myself. So which restaurant has the best fried chicken in L.A.? For a while, I figured Farmshop in Brentwood, where the fried chicken is a modified version of the famed version served at Ad Hoc in Yountville, would claim such a title. And while my visit to the restaurant was a mostly enjoyable one (post forthcoming), it left me wanting more – more out of my fried chicken. LA Weekly recently ran a “10 Best Fried Chicken in Los Angeles” list, and Jim Dandy stood atop the ranking (it also won the publication’s “Best Of” award for fried chicken, however redundant). Maybe Jim Dandy can rescue me from such a predicament (get it?)…
I swung by Jim Dandy on a recent, freezing Sunday. The restaurant had the decor of a run-down laundromat, sassy employees that would make Tyler Perry proud, and enough bulletproof window to shame a local bank. I stepped up to the window and ordered a 4-piece meal, with corn fritters (basically hush puppies) and fries. To my surprise, I received my order within a couple of minutes (it was good timing – they just finished a batch). The fried chicken remained piping hot even after the ride back to my apartment. The fritters were decent, and the fries were subpar, but that’s not what I was there for – I was there for the fried chicken. I have to say, it was the best fried chicken I’ve had in recent memory, but it wasn’t head and shoulders above others (for one, Flossie’s was very comparable). But the skin was crispy and flavorful, the meat was juicy (even the white), and that’s all I could really ask for. For now, I am happily satisfied…until the day I find my one true love.
Chris Hei grade: B+
Jim Dandy Fried Chicken
11328 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90044
A sliver lining of driving all the way down to the South Bay just to buy groceries from Marukai and Ramen Iroha was my genius idea of knocking another restaurant nearby off my to-dine list. I had read about Flossie’s a long time ago (probably in LA Weekly), and since I had fried chicken on my mind from my Thursday night dinner at Huckleberry, it seemed like the logical way to go (it was the only non-Japanese restaurant on the list anyways). Plus, it was the most takeout-friendly by far.
I drove into the fairly empty lot of the plaza where Flossie’s is located and thought that the place was closed. The storefront has tinted windows like an Asian’s rice rocket. Entering the restaurant, the lights were barely existent. I have no idea why the lights were so dimmed, but it actually made the interior quite cozy (however making me sleepy). The nice ladies welcomed me from behind the counter, which is where you order and pay. On Saturdays, I believe that the meal’s $13 for 1 main, 3 sides, biscuit/cornbread, and a drink.
My choice: fried chicken (duh), candied yams, collard greens, mac & cheese, cornbread, and sweet tea. First of all, the fried chicken was very good. Maybe even better than the one I had at Huckleberry, and definitely better than the ones I’ve had at Roscoe’s. The mac & cheese was equally impressive. Flossie’s offerings of these two Southern staples were among the best I’ve had in recent memory. The breading was light, kind of reminiscent of what you’d get at Popeye’s (but sans Cajun seasoning and better executed obviously).
Flossie’s was definitely flossin’ some good Southern/soul grub. The great food, accompanied by the warm service that gave me flashbacks of when I used to frequent Roscoe’s during my high school days, made me wish Flossie’s was much closer to me. They even have $8 weekday lunch specials that look like great deals. A non-Japanese restaurant proved to be a pleasant surprise down in the South Bay, and although it’s been around forever, I’m fortunate to have finally stumbled upon it.
Chris Hei grade: B+
Flossie’s Southern Cuisine
3566 Redondo Beach Blvd
Torrance, CA 90504
Photo credit: LASOM
Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, oh the memories. I used to live a few blocks away from the restaurant in high school, and I would come here every couple of weeks late at night. It actually felt cool being the only Asian customer, and the servers always calling me “my man” and “sweetie” (depending on whether it was a male or female server). It made me feel at home, assuming I’m black of course. And the food was just good, comfort food. I mean, fried chicken and waffles – together? What an idea!
In recent years, the warm feelings kind of faded away. The food was still good, but I just wasn’t excited going to Roscoe’s anymore. Some inconsistent meals contribute to this, but for the most part I think that I actually got bored of the food, after more than a decade of visits. But after we finished moving the last of the bulky furniture into the new apartment, Eugenia suggested Roscoe’s. Since my last visit to the restaurant was last year, I had no objections.
The Oscar – 3 chicken wings, grits, one egg & fluffy biscuit
This has become my favorite thing to get at Roscoe’s in recent years. I think that the wings are the most well-cooked and well-seasoned chicken that they serve, and nowadays, I prefer grits with slabs of butter and a sunny-side up egg over waffles. Guess I’m just getting old. The biscuit has more of a bun consistency, but goes well with the butter as well. A satisfying dish on a satisfying visit.
This most recent trip to Roscoe’s brought back some good vibrations, but nothing close to how I felt coming here when I was in high school. But I will be back occasionally, in an attempt to rekindle some of that old magic.
Chris Hei grade: B
Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles
5006 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019