Some friends and I got together at One Eared Stag for a wine dinner last week, featuring the Monday-night-only fried chicken by Chef Robert Phalen. I’ve previously sampled fried chicken at OES on the lunch menu, but this was a whole different approach – southern skillet style.
After numerous appetizers, and even more wine, a heaping plate of half a chicken, grits, and collards appeared before the dozen or so of us. You’ll notice a rich, somewhat one-sided dark color on the chicken, a tell-tale sign of pan fried country chicken. Barely on the good side of burnt, the caramel breading adds another element to the flavor, bringing the bitter tastebuds to the party for a full tongue coating experience. (Poetic license much?)
More impressive than the coating (Rowdy insisted the starch was not just flour alone – not cool to his redneck sensibility), was how well cooked and juicy the chicken was prepared. Surely well brined, the breast was tender from end to end, no small feat for a bird of more than moderate size. And everything was still crispy and hot, impressive with the number of people they served at once. One Eared Stag has surely thrown their hat into the ring for most impressive fried chicken in town. Nice work, chef.
We sampled a number of other dishes, including their always stellar, classically prepared bone marrow.
And fried shrimp heads were a great table snack, though the batter has a slightly dirty taste which one cannot avoid when frying shrimp heads. Also worth noting – a few bowls of excellent warm olives and marcona almonds were brought out early on, a right satisfying dish. To me, the difference between good and bad olives is like high quality vs average sushi – I don’t even bother with the latter.
And I while I don’t eat a lot of dessert, a few bites of short bread and pot de crème are up my alley. I’ve quite enjoyed OES lately, and need to add them to my go-to repertoire. It’s not a bad place to visit to simply have a drink either.