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Fried chicken Fridays at the General Muir

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You perhaps know the drill by now. The fried chicken is only available on one night of the week. It sells out early, so you should aim for a 6:30 dinner. The waiter relays the countdown by way of greeting: “Welcome! Would you like a drink, and how many of the XX remaining orders of chicken should I reserve for the table?”

Ever since Scott Peacock changed the very meaning of the word “Tuesday” in Atlanta with his fried chicken at Watershed, this little chicken dance has been a mainstay of destination dining.

What do we look for in fried chicken? That Anton Ego moment of innocent childhood rapture at mama’s table? An antidote to the guilty pleasure of Popeye’s? A flavor missive from the collective unconscious? Or maybe we just want to know if it’s possible for chicken to taste like more than that blandly agreeable bird we know so well.

The buzzy fried chicken in town now roosts at The General Muir, that deli-inspired restaurant where chef Todd Ginsberg does so much so right. It happens on Friday nights, a Southern vision of Sabbath dinner.

“We’ve got nine orders left,” says our waiter loudly, as both a statement to us and an implied question to other servers within earshot. Nine? Nine. The three of us do the sensible thing: we order two. He runs to the kitchen to claim them and then returns for our drink order.

It is good fried chicken: three pieces swaddled in a dishtowel, with sheer, dry and crackly skin. Ginsberg always brings finesse to his food, an attention to textures and composition, a touch that is all his.

But in the final count his chicken is just chicken — pleasant enough, properly cooked, nice in the way of a Sunday roast. No more than that. I can see why he chose a boneless breast for that skin, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. I’m not sure if I was missing the Colonel’s 12 secret herbs and spices or Watershed’s salty brine, or maybe I’m one of those people who keeps ordering fried chicken, waiting for something more.

Thank Yahweh the third member of our party ordered a Reuben sandwich. Have you tried The General Muir’s Reuben, made with house corned beef? Now that’s bliss.

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

25 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

November 8th, 2013
12:38 pm

How much? I’ve had the Watershed Fried Chicken…it was good…but not worth what they charge for it!

College Park Guy

November 8th, 2013
12:39 pm

Skip the trendy, hip, yuppy stuff and go to Popeyes for their spicy fried chicken. Whoever asked for an “antidote to a guilty pleasure?” Popeyes = Fried Chicken and The General Muir = Reuben. Just get the best a place offers.

Grasshopper

November 8th, 2013
1:21 pm

“I can see why he chose a boneless breast for that skin…”

Fried chicken off the bone? Is that a joke?

Mark I.

November 8th, 2013
3:41 pm

Chicken at Gen. Muir on Friday nights? Great! At least there’s one additional entree offering on an otherwise meager dinner menu. There’s more at lunch.

Rockerbabe

November 8th, 2013
6:35 pm

Well, I like the fried chicken at Pitty Pat’s Porch, Mary Mac’s Tea Room and Robert in Lithonia. More reasonable in price and they have all of the great side dishes one could want!

Baltisraul......

November 9th, 2013
7:51 am

I like my fried chicken brined for a couple hours then rolled in Dixie Fry Seasoning Mix. Pop that in the iron skillit when the temp gets to 375 degrees. Dust w/ paprika and Accent at the table and then go to heaven.
Scott Peacock is the best since Edith passed when it comes to Southern food.
Fried chick should not be boneless.

Baltisraul......

November 9th, 2013
7:52 am

Enter your comments here

Baltisraul......

November 9th, 2013
8:57 am

Brine chicken for a couple hours then role in Dixie Fry Seasoning Mix. Fry in iron skillit @375 degrees, turning once. Dust w/ paprika and Accent @ table.

Baltisraul......

November 9th, 2013
9:03 am

To make sure your seasoning mix stays on the chicken, place chicken in freezer for 20 min just before going into the iron skillit. Never met anyone that fried boneless chicken?

Steve

November 9th, 2013
2:06 pm

This is my go-to recipe for really good, easy home cooked fried chicken; http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/skillet-fried-chicken

Baltisraul......

November 9th, 2013
2:35 pm

Steve….that is a good recipe also. I have found that if you fry at a higher temp, the less chance you have of greasy chicken. I will also do my chicken in an electric skillit @ 375 degrees w/ the lid on. For those of you who don’t know Dixie Fry, it is now sold in the South as of about 11 mons ago. (go figure) It is made in Birmingham but was only sold in 9 western states for over 25 yrs. I had to have a friend from Phoenix send it to me or buy on-line for years. It’s cost is about $1.70 a box in local supermarkets.

Richard

November 9th, 2013
2:58 pm

KILL ME ALREADY with the Chicken. C’mon Atlanta….Three Steps forward….five steps back? C’mon can we strive for something more than Ford Fry and Fried Chicken….SHEEEZUS!!!

Baltisraul......

November 9th, 2013
3:59 pm

Richard…..you ain’t from around here, are ya? lol That is a loser in the South. Might as well hit somebody’s mama in the face and then tell her that her mess of greens were awful. You are not going to win this fight, believe me!!!!!

berry steve

November 10th, 2013
8:39 am

@ Richard- the article is about chicken. That is why all the discussion is about chicken. Try to concentrate! SHEEZUS!!!!

mary

November 10th, 2013
8:39 am

want GREAT fried chicken? Head to any PUBLIX deli at lunch.

GJ

November 10th, 2013
11:08 am

Good food is getting harder to find in the Atlanta area restaurants, seems like most of the restaurants are serving tasteless food and expect us to pay higher prices, I used to eat out 4 or 5 times per week, now I’m happy fixing my own meals at home.

janet

November 10th, 2013
12:39 pm

Great beyond Great fried chicken? Greenwoods on Green St. in Roswell.

ATLien

November 10th, 2013
6:44 pm

If you miss Friday at General Muir, you can show up on Sundays for the fried chicken dinner at Big Tex in Decatur. It’s just like grandma used to make complete with a biscuit and 2 sides (I go for the creamed corn). True love.

FM Fats

November 10th, 2013
11:23 pm

Friends tell me the Monday fried chicken dinner at One Eared Stag is the shiznits.

John Kessler

November 11th, 2013
8:54 am

thanks for the tip! And lookie here, it’s Monday…

BuHi

November 11th, 2013
4:58 pm

This is something that has always baffled me. Last I checked, Atlanta was in the South, but finding fried chicken on a restaurant menu is nigh impossible around here. But when you do, you’d better have a bankroll with you.

From the restaurant’s perspective, I understand that fried chicken can be a bit of a pain in the ass. But in most places it pushes $20+ (not sure what General Muir charges – I’m guessing it’s not cheap).

Sounds like John’s got it right: “his chicken is just chicken”. Which is all it should be – good fried chicken. It’s not gilt in gold.

Edward

November 11th, 2013
5:15 pm

Just go to the Colonnade and get your fried chicken any night.

berry steve

November 11th, 2013
11:14 pm

Colonnade has good fried chicken, for sure. Most folks find a way to prepare good fried chicken at home. BuHi, it is really not a pain in the ass if you make some preperations in advance and use a splatter screen.

Baltisraul......

November 12th, 2013
12:37 pm

Never had any significant upgrade when I soak my chicken in buttermilk. Brining has always given me better result. Am I doing something wrong? All the ‘great ones’ swear by buttermilk. Should I be doing both? —–mary–Winn-Dixie also has good fried chicken.

art

November 12th, 2013
12:51 pm

Balt, so does Publix especially if you get them to fresh fry a batch for you. It takes about 15 minutes.