Battle Fried Chicken at The Foundry
Who needs Kitchen Stadium?
Tonight two champions met in Battle Fried Chicken here at The Foundry. Next Iron Chef contestant Chef Eric Greenspan. Top Chef Master Chef Ludo Lefebvre. Whose cuisine reigns supreme?
But first, some back story. This friendly battle originated four days ago when @chefludo dropped by The Foundry to find @chefgreeny absent and threatened to take over his kitchen. @chefgreeny tweeted back, extending an invitation to @chefludo to join him on Bluesy Tuesday, their fried chicken night, and @chefludo accepted. The only problem? The Foundry only had one deep fryer. But, through the power of Twitter, @akasharichmond, chef and owner of Akasha in Culver City, offered two from her restaurant and the rest, as they say, is history.
Battle Fried Chicken was on!
Both chefs presented their fried chicken side by side on the same plate. Chef Ludo’s incredibly moist boneless chicken balls, heavily spiced with herbs de Provence, exterior fried to a satisfying crunch, lived up to the hype. It was juicy, tender, flavorful and crispy. Possibly the best fried chicken I’ve had.
Chef Greenspan took a more traditional approach. Bone in thigh, buttermilk dipped, a less crunchy fry and served with slivers of goat’s cheese waffle and maple syrup, Roscoe’s style. This fried chicken definitely played better with a good drenching of maple syrup whereas I preferred Chef Ludo’s sans sweet chile sauce.
I could have had a bucket of each but, given that the restaurant had imposed a one serving per customer rule for the night, we worked our way through the other dishes on the Bluesy Tuesday menu.
Cocktails first. How could I say no to a Kentucky Trollope? Whiskey, pineapple, ginger, citrus.
Small parmesan rolls to start.
Chef Ludo sent out his famed cold chorizo veloute with cornichon granita as an amuse bouche. The same chorizo veloute served at the recent Gold Standard event and rated by Jonathan Gold as one of the 10 Best Dishes of 2009. I remember this dish fondly from LudoBites 2.0 although, missing the cube of cantaloupe, it seemed saltier than I remember.
Cheesy grits. Smooth if somewhat bland. Still, a good blank slate for the chicken and greens to play against.
Braised mustard greens with molasses, red wine vinegar and bacon. Both salty and sweet, these were so good we ordered a second helping.
Cornmeal crusted fried green tomatoes with watermelon and blue cheese. Looking like a composed salad, these were great fried green tomatoes with a big city twist.
Cornbread pudding. The closest we came to dessert. Perfectly spongy and served with a sweet jalapeno jam and a dollop of creme fraiche.
Still hungry and bemoaning the lack of a bucket of chicken, and in light of Chef Greenspan’s upcoming gourmet grilled cheese shop, we also split two of his lauded grilled cheese sandwiches. The BBQ pork belly sandwich came served with cole slaw and fried pickles on white. More shredded pork than hunks of pork belly, it was nonetheless satisfying.
But his taleggio grilled cheese with short ribs and apricot-caper puree on raisin bread was a winner. Well toasted, gooey, and with the raisin bread adding the perfect amount of sweetness to the short ribs and cheese, I can see why this dish won him the LA Grilled Cheese Invitational in 2008.
But to the question of the night. Whose cuisine reigns supreme?
Both chefs presented variations on a classic dish. On creativity alone I’d probably give the edge to Chef Ludo but the real winners that night were the diners, tweeps and bloggers who jumped on board, supported and ultimately ensured this culinary match up by doing what we do best. Making reservations and going out to eat.
I can’t wait for a rematch. I’m pushing for Chef Greenspan’s award winning short rib grilled cheese versus Chef Ludo’s foie gras croque monsieur.
If you’re with me, you know what to do.
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Los Angeles, CA 90046(323) 651-0915