Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fried Chicken at Rittenhouse Tavern

Taking a cue from the Sunday Supper trend working it's way around the city (I think I may have started something here) Rittenhouse Tavern has been offering a fried chicken special on Sunday nights for $18 a person. They fry up a whole bird with biscuits, coleslaw and a special side of the day. It's been so popular that they've added it to the daily menu (and upped the price to $22).  Go get yours now before they jack it up again. 

Bacon biscuits! Yup. You can taste it immediately. There's no bits inside, but I think they use bacon grease instead of lard in the dough. It obviously lends an incredible flavor but renders them dense as hockey pucks. These are the opposite of flaky and airy. They will sit in your stomach like a bacon coated rock. There's worse things that could happen to you. 

The cabbage slaw was very good. A quick pickling with vinegar on the red cabbage gives it a great tang and still leaves it crunchy and crisp. I would most certainly order more of this.  Blue corn grits with paprika were a surprisingly big hit. The texture seemed like they were ground in-house, nothing out of a box here. You could taste the earthiness of the blue corn with the butter & paprika bringing it all home.  Second and third portions were a must. 

This is what we came for though - the bird! Whole Amish chickens, cut up into manageable pieces, marinated, breaded and deep fried into sweet, sweet oblivion. This isn't the super crispy scrape the top of your mouth brand. This is old school southern style, with just the perfect amount of crunch and some incredible flavor. Make sure to reserve your order ahead of time, as they only order a limited amount each day. 

Warning: it is served molten hot out of the fryer. You will burn your tongue. You will not be able to stop yourself from eating. The smell is intoxicating - on a cool Sunday in April, your mind starts drifting off to lazy summer days when everything moves a bit slower. The skin is crazy delicious like those cupcakes on Lazy Sunday. Light & dark alike, the meaty bird yields huge hunks of chicken, still juicy from the quick fry and leaving you painfully aching for another piece.

If you can, snag a seat outside in the wonderful little garden courtyard (warmed in the cooler months by those mobile heaters).  It's a little oasis in the middle of dense and crowded Rittenhouse square. The building itself hosts art exhibits and is worth a look in it's own right. Beautiful old millwork and dramatic arches create a gorgeous dining space. Looking forward to coming back here on a date night to check out the rest of the menu.

Food Baby Rating:  Twins!

Rittenhouse Tavern
251 S. 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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