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The Glutton

June 12, 2008

Just as the splendor of Haruki Murakami's writing lies as much in the space between words as it does in the words themselves, the glory of fried chicken lies somewhere between the layers of succulent meat and crisp skin. Forget run-of-the-mill fast food chains that dish up oil-soaked melons of meat so leaden they ought to be used as weapons, not entrees. Hidden among us is a savior, a humble pioneer who has achieved the Platonic ideal of juicy, lightly battered chicken that's crisp, golden and never too greasy: Amber's Chicken & Donuts (16900 Burbank Blvd., Encino).

This modest strip-mall joint with nothing to recommend in its atmosphere or decor nevertheless draws the faithful to its deep fryers. Patience, my children. When you order fried chicken at Amber's, expect to wait 10 to 15 minutes. That's because they don't prepare it until you order it. And the result is heavenly.

How do they achieve such perfection? "Broasting" -- a combination of pressure cooking and deep-frying that leaves the meat moist, tender and much less oily than traditional fried chicken.

Unless you like breaded steak fries, skip the broasted potatoes and make a beeline for Amber's onion rings, which are as crisp and delicious as the chicken. Ah, an entire meal of fried food: delicious, destructive and deeply satisfying.

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-- theguide@latimes.com

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