Chicago’s Fried Chicken Battle! Parson’s Vs. Honey Butter Fried Chicken! A Delicious Taste Test!!

classic-fried-chicken-recipes

Who Wants Some Fried Chicken?

I have been on a “fried chicken binge” lately, and since I spend a lot of time in Chicago, they are taking care of my addiction in a very tasty way!

Chicago lakeshore skyline

Welcome To Chicago – America’s Fried Chicken Mecca!

Chicago is not only a beautiful city, full of great people – it’s also a food lover’s dream town! This is a city that LOVES food: with world class three star Michelin restaurants like Alinea – where they serve a dish that comes with a tray of 60! seasonings and spices:

Alinea food

You can read about my most recent experience at Alinea by clicking here:

https://johnrieber.com/2015/08/01/alinea-the-worlds-most-inventive-restaurant-culinary-molecular-masterpiece/

And now, Chicago has a slew of great FRIED CHICKEN restaurants – one is a local legend, and one offered it with a twist:

honey-butter-fried-chicken

“HONEY BUTTER FRIED CHICKEN!”

Yes, you read that right – this new chicken shack has turned Chicago’s tastebuds upside down, putting other chicken joints on notice.

To be the best Chicago chicken joint however, you have to topple the long time king:

parsons chicago's best fried chicken


Welcome To Parson’s Chicken And Fish!

The current fried chicken king in Chicago is “Parson’s Chicken & Fish”, located in the Logan Square neighborhood…it’s a few miles away from downtown Chicago….

When you come up to Parson’s Chicken & Fish, you will notice is is very nondescript…

Chicago's Parsons Chicken and Fish

Parson Chicken and Fish sign

One thing that helps is the unique sign out front…and in back, there is a huge outdoor seating area with a bar…empty in the cold winter months, no doubt packed to the rafters all summer long…

Parson Chicken and Fish

Parson Chicken and Fish in Chicago

Bring On The Baccala!

The menu offers salads, fresh oysters, and fried fish as well as chicken – a nice variety of items…but I was there for the fried chiekcn – well, after an appetizing stop for some fried baccala fritters!

fried baccala fritters

As you can see, these are bit size baccala fritters – very intensely flavored cod balls – you get seven of them for $5 – a really good price, especially since they come with a delicious tartar sauce!

fried baccala fritters chicago

They were just a bit salty…the kind of “salty” that feels like too much sodium in the dish…but they also tasted great – and then, it was time for the chicken!

Parsons Chicken and Fish fried chicken chicago

Two Pieces: Six Bucks!

You can order a whole bird, a half bird, or what I ordered: two pieces for six dollars…what I got was one huge breast, and a small wing. The breast was juicy, thick – and encased in a thick breading…

Chicago's best fried chicken

The breast was delicious, full of flavor – and the fried chiekcn coating was really good…just a touch heavy. There are a number of styles to fried chicken, and this was chicken “encased” in coating.

chicago's best fried chicken

The wing wasn’t moist like the breast – not unusual when you consider how much skin there to is on the wing versus meat…and it made the coating more pronounced – which reinforced how flavorful it was…I ordered a $3 side of “creamy cole slaw” as well…

chicago's best restaurants

The slaw is outstanding: it says “creamy” on the menu, but it was lightly coated in a creamy sauce, so the cabbage really stood out – crunchy and fresh – this is a dynamite cole slaw…

The staff was attentive and friendly, the food was well priced and delicious…there is a reason the Parson’s has such a great reputation in the “fried chicken” community…

Parsons Chicken and Fish fried chicken chicago

Now, time to head to the newcomer that opened just a mile or so north of Parson’s…

chicago-honey-butter-fried-chicken-battle

The sign says it all: this is “Honey Butter Fried Chicken”, and that’s what they serve, and it has quickly become a Chicagoland favorite!

chicagos-honey-butter-fried-chicken

honey-butter-fried-chicken-recipes

“Put The Butter On The Bird!”

They don’t hold back at Honey Butter. There are a number of different chicken sandwiches on the menu, but c’mon, with a name like this, we all know why were are here:

honey-butter-fried-chicken

I ordered the four piece plate that comes with biscuits and honey butter…they offered a 2-piece or a 4-piece, and I decided to go all-in for $16:

honey-butter-fried-chiken-biscuits-and-honey-butter

honey-butter-fried-chicken-four-piece-platter

honey-butter-fried-chicken-review

The first thing you notice is the seasoning: this chicken has a strong flavorful coasting of spices – which keep the juices inside, making the chicken incredibly juicy…

chicago-honey-butter-fried-chicken-review

The chicken has a light breading – it doesn’t feel heavy at all…in fact, when you add a bit of honey butter to the meat, the taste is sublime…

chicago-honey-butter-fried-chicken-taste-test

pimento-macncheese-recipe

I ordered a side of their Pimento Mac’n’Cheese, dusted with bread crumbs, and it was delicious as well, held together with Wisconsin Cheddar…but it’s all about the chicken here, and in a unique twist, some piece are served boneless…

boneless-fried-chicken-honey-butter

The verdict? The Honey Butter chicken was delicious, thick and juicy, seasoned well and too much to eat – I could have lived with a 3-piece option, but they also sell chicken to go, so I should have gone with a mega bucket and lived like a King!

It’s also more expensive than Parson’s, but at the end of the day, BOTH restaurants offer up great food and better than that – incredible fried chicken!

honey-butter-fried-chicken

If you don’t live in Chicago, and I have annoyed you with these photos, you can still have great fried chicken….because a legendary Chef gives you all the tools to do it yourself!

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Recipe

Legendary “French Laundry” Chef Thomas Keller sells his fried chicken kit at William Sonoma, so you can make his recipe at home!

classic-fried-chicken-recipes

I have made it several times, and boy does it work! See the recipe, and explore Chef Keller’s culinary empire, here:


https://johnrieber.com/2012/05/07/congrats-per-se-named-one-of-the-best-restaurants-in-the-world-the-french-laundry-too-plus-ad-hoc-fried-chicken/

Enjoy your fried chicken!

chicago's best fried chicken



Categories: Art, Awards, Books / Media, chicago, cookbooks, Exotic Travel, Food, food blog, Food Review, Memoirs, Recipes, Restaurants, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized, Wacky Food

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4 replies

  1. We almost never have anything deep-fried at home. (High cholesterol) But given the option, I would definitely ‘GO LARGE’ on that honey butter chicken! (The Parson’s version looked too heavy)
    As always, you make me hungry, John. Luckily, we are out to a restaurant tonight as it is Julie’s birthday. Here’s the menu. Who says the English don’t serve great food?

    Click to access DH-Evening-Menu-December-2016.pdf


    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is, indeed, a terrific menu – I’d tray a number of those dishes! Have a great evening!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just back from the restaurant, and reporting an excellent meal. Wine was an Australian Shiraz (bottle) for me, and a large glass of Californian Rose for Julie. I had a wonderful smoked haddock pancake with parmesan for starter, Julie had Gravadlax and salad. Then she had Guinea Fowl, and I enjoyed Belly Pork with mashed potato and pickled prunes. Better than it sounds! To finish, I had home made vanilla ice cream, with a shot of espresso and rum. Julie had a delicious cream trifle. We rounded off with coffee on some comfortable sofas. Out at 7, home by 10. But a great night. The bill was about $95 US, and I gave a £10 tip. Lovely staff, and a nice ambiance too.
        If you are ever in this part of England, I will take you there!
        Regards, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pete, I must plan a trip! The pancake and the pork belly were both items that sparked my interest, sounds like a terrific night! Thanks for sharing!

        Like

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