It was a sight last September: People camped out along the sidewalk on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue on a chilly morning, many playing board games while snuggled in sleeping bags, all in the name of fried chicken. Yes, Chick-fil-A, the Southern fast-food chain known for its pickle-topped chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, opened its new Hollywood location, promising free sandwiches for a year to the first 100 customers. The place was packed from the get go, and the lines haven't stopped since.
But not everyone is a devoted fan. Controversy over whether the company funds anti-gay organizations has some chicken lovers in a moral battle between heart, mind and palate. We're here to help. If you just can't stomach the chicken chain, we've found five fried chicken sandwich alternatives -- even better than Chick-fil-A -- to try around L.A.
At Canele in Atwater Village, golden, juicy fried jidori chicken thighs are piled high on a toasted brioche bun with nothing but green tomatoes, red onion and mayo. You'll only find it on the Saturday and Sunday brunch menu.
Before Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio debuted his sexy ink. restaurant on Melrose, he opened a tiny sandwich shop a few doors down. The chicken here is actually cold--cooked sous vide first, then fried--but the crusty roll is warm. In between, an intriguing "ranch cheese," some shreds of lettuce, and tangy heat from Gindo's Spice of Life sauce. Super tasty.
It's loud, rowdy, and a little obnoxious, but one of the best "burgers" at Hollywood's new Fukuburger is the chicken katsu. The panko-crusted chicken is crispy and juicy, smothered in the oh-so-secret "crack sauce" (probably a mayo and chile sauce concoction) and lettuce. Messy and delicious.
We love the little sliders at The Hudson in West Hollywood, mostly for their simplicity--the flavorful chicken is topped with cheddar cheese and ranch dressing--but also because they're mini. They're perfect with a beer, and a real bargain during happy hour (though offered any time, too).
Leave it to Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook--the chefs behind Animal--to serve one of the city's best fried chicken sandwiches...in their seafood restaurant. At Son of a Gun, the chicken is just about perfect, the brioche bun wonderfully buttery and toasty, with the slaw--cabbage and bread-and-butter pickles--adding a nice cool bite after the spicy Sriracha aioli. Get a glass of Champagne with this one. Really.