Supper’s fried chicken shows promise
t says: So I recently talked up Supper’s Fried Chicken Tuesdays to some friends, thinking that it’d be a great deal … even if it only half lives up to the Food & Wine hype. But perhaps it was foolish of me to make mention of the “deal”, as I, myself, had never had this mysterious “pastrami-brined/seasoned” fried chicken. I began to fear that maybe Supper would make me eat my words … so the FTC got together on the first convenient Tuesday and did some top-notch investigative reporting …
July 2012, Tuesday Dinner, Party of 4. kp kinda-sorta-forgot to show, so we were down to 4. While we missed kp, we knew that we had to soldier on … for the sake of the blog! We’d have to raise a drumstick in honor of our night-shift-working friend …
Feeling that perhaps we needed some veggies to blunt the inordinate amount of fried chicken we were about to consume, we decided to go for some appetizers. Above, you see the pickled veggie tray. First allow me to draw your attention to that egg-salad-looking-concoction in the center. That, my friend, is their house-made ricotta with some olives. Let it be known that this stuff was surprisingly good, with a creaminess and lemon zing that reminded me almost of a lemon curd (but not as sweet). Good stuff for sure. As for the other pickled veggies, they weren’t bad. I can’t say they were at all that mind-blowing, but I guess it is nice to get exactly what you ordered: well-executed pickling of tomatoes, beans, okra, and rhubarb.
a also ventured the gazpacho. As gazpachos go, it was a pretty impressive with surprisingly bold vivid flavors for a cold soup. We discussed it a bit, and it seems like everyone had comments about it, but I’m not sure there was a single conclusion on what was successful/lacking. For instance, I found the acidity to be quite refreshing, but v felt that maybe it was a bit too harsh. a wondered whether the bacon was necessary, but of course, in my opinion, bacon is always necessary. I found the corn flavor (“corniness” as I called it) to be quite a pleasant surprise, whereas I feel like others appreciated it but were not-so-surprised. In the end, I think we all liked one thing or another about it, so I suppose that makes it a successful dish?
Don’t be misled by the pictures above – there was actually a substantial amount of food – all of it just happened to be served in ridiculously large plates/bowls (much to my chagrin – all that wasted space!). I firmly believe that there was plenty of food for two people, so the two orders was more-than-enough for the four of us (I only shot a picture of one order above). So let’s dissect the chicken first. The skin was hands-down amazing. Super light, super crisp, firmly adherent to the chicken, and full of that pastrami seasoning that really brought a complementary element to the chicken. Beautiful. The chicken, itself, was “ok-to-good” at the least and “good-to-very-good” at the best – I think it depends on which cut you happen to pick up. The white pieces were a smidge over-cooked (kinda like how every piece of chicken I cook at home comes out), while the dark ones remained nice and juicy. Thus, the chicken, like the appetizers, was also controversial. While I felt that the skin could more than make up for the chicken cookery, g felt quite the opposite, as no amount of fried magic can distract her from the meat, itself. a and v fell somewhere in-between g and me.
The mixed feelings persisted when evaluating the sides. I quite-liked the smoky potato salad, but g felt the potatoes to be undercooked (g held no punches today). Meanwhile v was quick to point out that while she enjoyed the sides and the chicken, she just couldn’t quite justify this particular combination of flavors. In retrospect, I kind of agree – I felt that each component was good on its own (the chicken, the slaw, the potatoes), but it’s not like putting them together resulted in a symphony greater than the sum of its parts … but maybe we’re being too picky? I mean, come on, it’s two-people’s-worth of food for $25 – that’s a good deal, right? <Insert a moment’s pause while I stroke my fake beard and ponder this question> Hmmmm. <Insert squinty eyes and a cocked eyebrow.> I’ve decided: “a conditional yes”. FedNuts has better chicken, but not-as-devilishly-crisp skin. “Pastrami” is not one of their flavors, but I’m sure that if they put their mind to it, they could get a similar taste with a juicier product. However, Fednuts lacks the sides. However, they have donuts. However, they’re far away. So, three howevers later, I guess it’s a tough call … but surely as soon as FedNuts opens a closer branch, they will completely eclipse Supper’s chicken in my mind (I prefer donuts to sides – you may feel differently … but I doubt it). Perhaps a better comparison would be between Supper and Rotisseur, as they both do “normal” sides. Right off the bat, Rotisseur has better chicken, but lacks the skin-advantage because it’s not fried. Supper has better sides. Rotisseur is BYO. Supper has more seating. Agh! It’s too hard to declare a victor! You know what would settle all of this? Simple. Make a time machine and go to Meritage circa 2010 for their Korean Fried Chicken – still my favorite fried chicken of all time. Actually, I wonder if Chef Colle (or her sous Anne Miller – actually, is she still sous at Meritage? No idea.) still does Korean fried chicken every now and then. If it’s the same as it was two years ago (and if the sides are still as good as they were back then), then they could totally out-chicken all these guys. Oh well … I guess you’ll just have to go to all these places and decide for yourself.