Every once in a while, you’re lucky enough to taste a dish that changes the way you look at an ingredient that, before that first bite, had been relatively familiar. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, the wildly (and justifiably) popular Los Angeles restaurateurs, recently did this to me with nothing more exotic than fried chicken.
Battered-and-fried bird has seen a serious renaissance in recent years, and on both coasts of the country. From the shatteringly crisp crust of Korean bon chon to haute-comfort riffs on the country classic, the humble breast-leg-thigh trifecta has been given the kind of love that any one of the Kardashian sisters would kill for.
Shook and Dottolo have upped the ante. And in keeping with their M.O. at both Son of a Gun (8370 W. 3rd St., LA) and Animal (435 N. Fairfax Ave., LA), they’ve decided not so much to change up the essence of the fried chicken sandwich but, rather, to simply make it better.
They start with an unabashedly butter-rich brioche bun and build the beast out from there: Bread-and-butter pickle slaw; “Rooster” aioli with just enough punch to frame that slaw, yet not so much that it sets the tangle ablaze; and, the key to the whole operation’s success, the fried chicken, a deliriously moist, snowy-centered breast cocooned in a crust so nutty, so perfectly teeth-snappy, that, if you’re like me, you’ll actually fall into a deep depression a week later as the realization slowly dawns on you that you won’t be having it again until you hop on a plane and head on over to the Left Coast sometime in the future.
Of course, a depression spurred on by a catalyst this transformative--a sandwich this remarkable--is well worth falling into.
[Note: Photo from Yelp.]