Settling the Divide: Bona Fide Chicken, Fried

The Globe’s culinary experts dive into the world of fried chicken

The chicken, fried. Such a simple, yet powerful concept. The Scots first put together the combination in the 5th century, deep frying chicken in lard. Since then, nothing has been the same. People have been born, died, loved, hated, all because of this delicious concoction of chicken, breading and hot fat. Today, Pete & Owen, your ears to the world of cheap food, review the local chicken joints.

Garden Catering

Pete: Garden Catering is certainly not thought of as a fried chicken spot, and their famous nuggets are their bread and butter. However, if you’ve had your nugget fill for the week, I’d urge you to check out their fried chicken. The skin is a meal in itself, with its ultracrispy texture completely enveloping the taste buds in seconds. Past that golden layer of flavor, the meat awaits. This, however, is where the good vibes stop. Garden Catering’s meat is remarkably gamey and tastes more like a poor cut of venison than the moist chicken we’ve come to expect from this establishment. Garden takes a big risk in the fried chicken department, with mixed results.

Rating: Three Globes

Owen: When walking into the open doors of Garden Catering, one usually looks at their menu and ponders which size of chicken nuggets to order. However, what one misses out on is their surprisingly tasty fried chicken, on display for all to see. Spinning the drumstick in my hand, I could see the glistening of the skin, almost asking for me to take a bite. Crack of the skin? Check. Is the chicken dry or moist? I’d say somewhere in the middle. Think of getting a grade back, and being neither happy nor mad with it. The taste is like any other fried – Wait what? Seasoning you say? Oh, well this changes everything. A touch of the secret orange dust known at Garden Catering as seasoning and voila: it makes the chicken worth eating to completion.

Rating: Four Globes

Chicken Joe’s

Owen: Here’s the thing about Chicken Joes, aka “Joes”. It’s nearly the same exact concept as Garden Catering. Unfortunately, unlike Garden Catering, their fried chicken leaves a lot to be desired. After just stuffing my face with Garden’s fried chicken, we drove over to Joe’s to get a subsequent taste of theirs. Sadly, just like new Adam Sandler movies vs. old Adam Sandler movies, they simply don’t compare. The skin had no crunch; I could’ve been biting into a muffin. The moisture level of the chicken made it seem like it had been left in the Sahara Desert for a month. Luckily, Joe’s carries a seasoning as well, which saved it from the embarrassment level of Mark Sanchez’s infamous butt fumble.

Rating: Two Globes

Pete: What can I say, Owen doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about when it comes to chicken. Joe’s is well known throughout Southern Westchester for their excellent fried chicken, and that reputation exists for a reason. While their skin may not equal Garden Catering’s, the meat more than makes up for any other shortcomings. After cracking open the treasure chest of skin, the consumer is faced with the juicy, satiating and delicious meat. Owen is completely delusional and I urge the reader to disregard anything he writes.

Rating: Four Globes

KFC

Owen: Alright Colonel, the jig is up. How are you still in business? If I had ordered oil, then it came with a solid side of chicken. But no, I ordered fried chicken. That being said, I ran this location out of napkins trying to rid the chicken of a sufficient amount of grease so that it wouldn’t slip right off my fingertips. Once that was out of the way, I hesitantly moved the chicken towards my mouth and took a bite– Oh god! Oil squirted in my eye. With no napkins left in the store, I ran over to the soda machine and let water pour into my eye. Not letting anything get in my way, I went back to my seat, took a bite of the chicken and realized it was truly never meant to be.

Rating: One Globe

Pete: The name Kentucky Fried Chicken is synonymous with poultry. While amateurs like Owen might scoff at the fast-food chicken, it’s important to consider what KFC aims to achieve. KFC produces quick, reliable fried chicken from anywhere across the country. With that being considered, their chicken doesn’t quite measure up to specialty places like Chicken Joe’s. They do produce quite a flavorful product, but this was diminished by the fatty skin and rubbery mouthfeel. Incompetent reviewers like Owen Zucker may be quick to decry KFC, but I urge the reader to consider the size, scale and reliability of their chicken empire before drawing damaging and inaccurate conclusions. All in all, KFC delivers a consistently average product at a low cost.

Rating: Two Globes

And that’s all for today! Stay tuned for next year when we’ll be returning with more reviews of your favorite places. If you’ve got a restaurant or food you’d like us to review, feel free to write or just stop me in the hallway. -Pete

By Peter Simpson and Owen Zucker

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