April 20, 2014

Toronto's Tastiest Fried Chicken

Bucket List

 

Crunchy, spicy, succulent and delicious fried chicken is a dish that’s perfect for eating outdoors in summer. We called in David Neinstein, chef at hot Southern BBQ spot Barque, to sample eight takes on this old favourite and pick Toronto’s tastiest fried chicken.

 

Max's

Winner: Perfect poultry

MAX'S RESTAURANT

“This looks great,” says Neinstein, eyeing this Filipino-style chicken. “There’s a very subtle seasoning blend. The batter is crispy.” The meat is tender, kept juicy by cooking the chicken whole. “It’s just cool,” Neinstein adds.
1520 Steeles Ave. W.  Price: $14.99
 

 

All the best

Seasoning to savour

ALL THE BEST FINE FOODS

“It’s really fresh and the quality of the meat is really good,” says Neinstein, who also loves the aromatic seasoning and subtle batter. “This is produced by people who have time to do a really cool, innovative take on fried chicken.”
1101 Yonge St.  Price: $4.50 per 100 g
 

 

Harlem Underground

Homemade and hot

HARLEM UNDERGROUND

The batter looks intriguing, and Neinstein guesses this chicken may have been pan-fried. “This looks homemade, in a very positive way. There’s a hint of heat. It’s extremely flavourful.”
745 Queen St. W.  Price: $16.95, including choice of sides
 

 

The Stockyards

Browned off

THE STOCKYARDS

The brownness of the batter coating this chicken gets our chef going. It smells good, the meat is tender. But of the taste, he says, “The nose is bigger than the mouth.”  
699 St. Clair Ave. W.  Price: $14, four pieces plus sides

 

The Chickery

Bite-sized brilliance

THE CHICKERY

Neinstein likes the small pieces on this plate. “It makes it very approachable and quick to cook,” he says. “The chicken is aromatic. There’s an herbalness that I find really attractive. I like it.”
130 Spadina Ave.  Price: $9, two pieces plus one side

 

The Thompson Diner

The spice is right

THE THOMPSON DINER

In addition to the crust seasoning, each piece has been seasoned after cooking. “It gives a little extra kick at the end,” says Neinstein, using his fingers. “The chicken is moist and cooked well.”
550 Wellington St. W. Price: $14.25 including side

 

New York Fried Chicken

Flavour that’s skin deep

NEW YORK FRIED CHICKEN

“The batter is on the uniform side, slightly seasoned. It’s pleasant,” says Neinstein as he rips a piece of skin off with his fingers. He likes the skin but says it is “a little rich” to eat on its own. As for the meat: “It has a longer chew.”   
1 York Gate Blvd.  Price: $1.75 per piece

 

Chick-n-Joy

Greasy goodness

CHICK-N-JOY

The spices in the batter remind Neinstein of KFC commercials with a chef tossing flour and secret spices. “It’s greasy good, but the chicken itself, to my taste, is a little less tender.”
1483 Queen St. E. Price: $5.60 for two pieces with fries