For culinary arts students, the idea of preparing chicken probably doesn’t scream excitement. However, many chefs have proven that the versatility of this bird can make for truly impressive dishes in recent years. According to Bon Appetit, inventive takes on poultry were among the most significant trends in cooking for 2016.
The best chicken served in restaurants ranges from great classic tastes to unique reinventions. They all demonstrate that crowd-pleasing poultry is a powerful part of the chef’s repertoire. When you find out more about the greatest chicken being served today, you can come up with some tasty ideas of your own.
Making fantastic chicken dishes doesn’t have to mean reinventing the wheel. Much of the most impressive poultry prepared in restaurants is based in long traditions. Still, some locations stand apart by putting their own stamp on hearty, comforting meals.
“Making fantastic chicken dishes doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel.”
Fried chicken is an American classic, and you can find remarkable examples all over the country. Austin culinary arts fans get a taste of that history by digging into a bird at Top Notch, an institution that has been open since 1971. Thrillist named the establishment’s fried chicken among the best in the nation for its combination of juiciness and a crisp, golden exterior. Order a two or three-piece dinner and you’ll also get to enjoy indulgent sides like Texas toast, mashed potatoes, fried okra and sweet potato fries.
Portland, Oregon’s Coquine specializes in roast chicken that’s straightforward, yet exceptionally moist and tasty. The locally sourced, organic bird is presented family style and accompanied by a variety of seasonal side dishes. These include options like frites, flint corn polenta and gilfeather turnips with colatura, rosemary, honey and chili pepper.
Many flock to the Peruvian restaurants of Washington, D.C. to enjoy rotisserie chicken, known for the extra-smoky flavor that comes from cooking over charcoal. Serious Eats noted that El Pollo Rico is among the most famous names for a good reason: perfectly spiced, consistently crispy and juicy poultry. The establishment is also known for its exceptional housemade sauces, one a hot green salsa, the other an aji mayonnaise.
There’s no end to what you can do with poultry in the kitchen, and that makes it perfect for experimentally minded chefs. Many have introduced new ideas for chicken, catching the attention of diners and critics. With some unusual ingredients and plenty of creativity, they are showing just how exciting chicken can be.
Founded in Miami Beach, The Yardbird now also has a location in Las Vegas. At either, you can find organic chicken prepared with Jeff McInnis’s 27-hour brining process. One option is a variation on a Southern comfort food classic: a chicken and waffle meal featuring honey hot sauce, spiced watermelon, and a sharp cheddar cheese waffle in Bourbon maple syrup. Otherwise, diners can opt for a half chicken that’s smoked and grilled with a housemade barbecue sauce.
At the NoMad Hotel in New York City, chef Daniel Humm has crafted a truly decadent chicken dinner for two. This roasted bird is stuffed with brioche, black truffle and foie gras. In case the entree isn’t enough, it comes with a side of carrots, lentils and Brussels sprouts.
Any devotee of chicken sandwiches should pay a visit to the Crack Shack in San Diego. Chef Richard Blais has crafted a wide variety of poultry-based items with creative toppings. The Royale features a chicken sausage with an egg cooked sunny side up and smoked cheddar on an English muffin. The Senor Croque, served on brioche, consists of crispy chicken, bacon, cheddar, miso-maple butter and a fried egg.
Jose Andres presents a modern take on several chicken dishes at The Bazaar in Beverly Hills. There’s the seared chicken with honey dates, mustard caviar and mustard greens or fritters with bechamel. However, Food & Wine singled out the boneless wings prepared confit and pan-fried, then served with a blue cheese cream, as one of the best poultry items around.
Culinary academy students can turn chicken into a huge variety of tasty, inventive dishes. Whether you prefer to explore classic recipes or try something completely different, you can develop a signature item that fits your cooking style.