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RESTAURANTS

Fry cook

There's so much good fried chicken in this town, you might think you're south of the Mason-Dixon line.

January 12, 2006|Leslee Komaiko

Dinah's

Flying in and out of LAX is a drag, but a visit to this diner makes everything right. In addition to its giant apple pancakes, it is known for its fried chicken, served with skin or without. We like "chicken in the wicket," in part, we admit, because of the name. It includes three pieces of chicken, a side, a roll and banana bread.

* Chicken in the wicket, $8.60. 6521 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. (310) 645-0456.

Cameo Bar at Viceroy

Santa Monica

One L.A. restaurant has become synonymous with chicken and waffles: Roscoe's. But now the combo is showing up at trendy spots such as O-Bar, as well as this oh so chic lounge. Fried boneless chicken strips are paired with golden waffle strips and a flavorful gravy made with sausage and onion. The dish is served with a fork and knife. But most patrons use good old fingers.

* Chicken and waffles, $12. 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 451-8711.

Ramos House Cafe

Among the favorites at this charming breakfast and lunch-only spot housed in an 1881 residence a short walk from the mission is a fried chicken salad made with crunchy tenders of cornmeal-

coated chicken, cool mixed greens and pepitas, and finished in a tangy goat cheese buttermilk dressing. It comes with a couple of sweet corn hushpuppies too.

* Salad, $14. 31752 Los Rios St., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 443-1342.

James Beach

Every Thursday it's fried chicken night at this beloved beachside hang. Each plate includes a buttermilk-battered thigh, leg and breast; creamed spinach; mashed potatoes; and a slice of cornmeal poundcake. Afterward, grab a beer and hit the pool table in the back.

* Fried chicken, $17. 60 N. Venice Blvd., Venice, (310) 823-5396.

Cynthia's

The cobbler at Cynthia Hirst's American restaurant is legendary. The fried chicken runs a close second. Hirst tweaked her grandmother's recipe to make it "kind of healthy." She marinates skinless breasts overnight to keep 'em moist, uses a dusting of seasoned flour, then into the deep fryer they go. The chicken is served with mashed potatoes, country gravy and string beans tricked out with onion and bacon.

* Fried chicken, $18. 8370 W. 3rd St., L.A. (323) 658-7851.

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-- Leslee Komaiko

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