After several years of a bacon invasion, it’s safe to say something else now crosses the road in Atlanta. Though chicken has always been on the menu at the city’s top soul food restaurants, the bird now rules the roost with the ATL’s top chefs, who are preparing gussied-up versions of the Southern staple. Here are our picks of the best cluckers in town:
What chef Shaun Doty did for the simple hamburger with his successful Yeah! Burger concept, he’s doing for chicken at Bantam & Biddy, a family-friendly, locally sourced restaurant at Ansley Mall. Its sister spot Chick-a-Biddy is slated to open in Atlantic Station in April. Bantam’s focus is mostly on rotisserie-style meat with killer sauces like spicy piri piri.
How Asha Gomez so perfectly marries Southern Indian cuisine with Southern American we’ll never quite know. Her sublime restaurant, which was recently named a James Beard semifinalist in the “Best New Restaurant” category, serves plates of fried chicken divinely flavored with hints of coconut and very-hard-to-identify spices.
From Giovanni Di Palma, the mastermind behind Antico Pizza, comes another winner. Di Palma’s chicken, wholly inspired from Italy, is brushed with extra virgin olive oil, marinated with a dry rub and baked slow and low for a perfectly juicy bird with deliciously crispy skin.
In 2012, Decatur’s Watershed moved to its new location in South Buckhead, but that hasn’t slowed down folks from clamoring for its fried chicken night. This time, chef de cuisine Julia LeRoy mans the frying station, but the legendary recipe that is the backbone of the Atlanta institution remains untouched.
This spot is, perhaps, the most global (and the most casual) in the flock, specializing in schnitzel-style sandwiches. Pounded thin, breaded and fried, these patties are a tasty vessel for customization with choices like Mexican (picante seasoning and aioli) and Indian (cucumber salad and curried yogurt) topping the menu.
Celebrity chef Art Smith’s Atlanta restaurant sure knows how to serve a perfect plate of fried chicken. Smith travels all over the world armed with his famed recipe that everyone from Oprah to Lady Gaga loves. In fact, Smith says, “Fried chicken has taken us a lot of places.” In your case, it should at least take you to the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star InterContinental Buckhead so you can try the fabulous fowl for yourself.
Photos Courtesy of Angie Mosier, LL PR, Letter B Creative Photography