Fried Chicken Wing Perfection at Chica’s Chicken

Chica's ChickenLocation2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/chicaschicken/

Well, I’ve now tried everything on the menu at Chica’s Chicken, which means I can say the following with a reasonable amount of authority: it’s the best.  The literal best.

I honestly can’t recall having better fried chicken anywhere in the city.  It’s everything you’re looking for: it’s got that amazing crispy crunch, it’s so damn tasty, and the chicken itself is ridiculously moist.  Perfection.

Chica's Chicken

I got the wings this time; an order comes with four giant wings, and it’s an absurd amount of food.  They don’t cut the wings into segments like most places — it feels like a pain at first, but it gives you more of that crispy, crunchy skin.

You also get a side, and two slices of plain white bread.  For 16 bucks, it’s a absolute steal considering the quantity and quality of the food.

Chica's Chicken

Sorry, every other chicken wing I’ve ever had: you’re absolute garbage compared to what Chica’s is serving.

I got it hot AF; as on my previous visits, they aren’t kidding around with the heat.  It hurts so good.

I think I’m ready to install a cot in the back of the restaurant so that I can eat all my meals here.  Will I die of a massive heart attack by my 40th birthday?  Probably.  Will it be worth it?  Absolutely.

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Rudy: Still Great

RudyLocation: 619 College Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://rudyresto.com/

I recently named Rudy the best burger in Toronto.  So from now on, I’m always going to be afraid that, one day, they’ll lower the quality of their hamburgers and make me look like an idiot.

That day may come.  It hasn’t yet.

I just went back, and I can confirm that it’s as great as ever.  The burger is still juicy, beefy, and amazing.  And that crust from the griddle?  Bonkers.  Absolutely bonkers.

Rudy

I mean, look at that.  It’s perfect.

Along with the burger and fries, I tried the deep-fried pickle chips, and they were pretty great too — particularly when you dip them in the tasty ranch sauce that comes on the side.

Rudy

Fried pickles is one of those things that sounds weird until you try it, and you realize that it’s actually amazing.  I wish the batter here was a little less chewy and a bit more crunchy, but aside from that they were tasty and addictive.

Amazing Fried Chicken at Chica’s Chicken

Chica's ChickenLocation: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/chicaschicken/

Recently, I had the Nashville hot chicken sandwich from Porchetta and Co. and was thoroughly unimpressed; it was bland, disappointingly mild, and dripping with flavourless grease.  It was a surprisingly mediocre sandwich from an otherwise great restaurant.

Clearly, the problem was not with the dish itself, because I just had the version from Chica’s Chicken, and hot damn it was so good.

The menu here is exceptionally simple; it’s pretty much just bone-in chicken, chicken wings, and a chicken sandwich, along with a variety of sides.  I got the quarter chicken (dark, of course) with a side of coleslaw.

Chica's Chicken

There are three heat options: mild, medium, and hot AF.  I ordered hot, which prompted the woman behind the counter to warn me that it was indeed very hot.  She mentioned Carolina Reaper peppers (currently the hottest pepper in the world) along with another pepper I can’t recall.

It’s so good.  The chicken is perfectly cooked, with an amazingly satisfying level of crispiness on its skin and abundantly juicy chicken.  And the flavour is explosive; aside from the level of heat, their spice blend is outstanding.  It’s some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

Chica's Chicken

As for the heat: it’s hot enough to make you sweat and to clear your sinuses, but not so spicy that it feels like something you should be eating on a dare.  It’s great.

It comes on a plain slice of bread (de rigueur for this style of chicken), which soaks up all of the amazing grease.  It also comes with a side of ranch for dipping, which was a huge upgrade over the typical Hidden Valley; it was creamy, slightly garlicky, and a little bit sweet.  It was a delicious compliment to the intensely spicy chicken.

The creamy coleslaw was great, too; I normally prefer vinegary coleslaw, but versions like this make me second guess myself.

Crispy Fried Goodness at Mr. Tonkatsu

Mr. TonkatsuLocation: 520 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.mrtonkatsu.com/

Tonkatsu is one of those dishes that’s very difficult to dislike.  You can coat pretty much anything in panko breading and then deep fry it, and that thing is going to be tasty.  A fried, panko-breaded pork cutlet?  Served with rice and a delicious dipping sauce?  Yeah, it’s hard to go wrong there.

And while Mr. Tonkatsu doesn’t serve the best tonkatsu I’ve ever had, they certainly do a solid job with it.

Mr. Tonkatsu

They have a couple of different pork options on the menu — loin and tenderloin, with the latter being an extra dollar.  I went with loin, which comes with a bowl of rice, tonkatsu sauce, shredded cabbage, and miso soup.

The panko breading on the tonkatsu had an absolutely perfect texture — it was golden and lightly crispy, with just enough heft to make its presence known, but not enough to overwhelm the meat.  But it was way underseasoned; it was actually pretty bland.

Mr. Tonkatsu

Thankfully, the tonkatsu sauce very thoroughly solves that problem.  I normally like that stuff — it’s kind of like a Japanese take on HP sauce — but the version here was something special, with way more complexity than the norm.

It’s good that the sauce was so delicious, because the meat needed a lot of it.  Aside from the distinct lack of flavour, the pork itself was overcooked and extremely dry.  A prodigious application of the tasty sauce goes a long way towards fixing those problems, but they are problems nonetheless.

Mr. Tonkatsu

Everything else was quite good.  The dressing for the cabbage was the usual sesame-infused concoction you’d expect; it was quite satisfying.  And the miso soup had a mildly fishy funk that I found to be delightful.

Nashville Hot Chicken at Porchetta and Co.

Porchetta and Co.
Location: 545 King Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://porchettaco.com/

I love Porchetta and Co.  Their porchetta sandwich?  Classic.  Best porchetta in the city.  Their fried chicken sandwiches?  Usually delicious!  Their Nashville hot chicken sandwich?  Uh…

Hey, they can’t all be winners.  And it wasn’t all bad.  The fried chicken itself was superlative, as usual: perfectly-cooked chicken with a crispy, crunchy, tasty exterior.  It’s good stuff.

Porchetta and Co.

Nashville hot chicken is a notoriously spicy dish that involves a post-cooking dunk into spice-infused oil to give the chicken additional flavour and heat.  It’s typically sprinkled with more spices, just to kick up the heat factor.  Porchetta and Co. appear to have remembered the oil — the sandwich was absolutely dripping with it — but forgotten the spices.  The oily coating on the chicken was bland, and worse, it wasn’t spicy.  At all.  The spice level here never registered beyond a mild tingle.  WTF?

The other components of the sandwich — lettuce, mayo, pickles, plain white bread — were fine, though the sugary-sweet pickles were a bit overpowering.