This Saturday was a gorgeously balmy evening. I wanted to get a drink and a burger at one of our old haunts for nostalgic reasons. The Ship was packed, the only seats right by the band. My ears were ringing from the music. My husband and I checked out Local 510, and again, the only seats were right by the speakers. Finally, we checked out Ming, but we could hear Biggie blaring from the sidewalk. L hates my taste in music, so it was a no-go.
Then it hit me. Cluck ‘n’ Cleaver! The new chicken joint that opened up in the Beltine. We’ve seen line-ups since it opened but at 7:30pm there were only a few people ahead of us. L was pestered by a man who hung around the front door. The whole time we were waiting for our food, this guy cornered L and kept asking for money or food.
We ordered a two-piece southern fried chicken with one side ($9.75) and a three-piece with one side ($12). I picked the rotisserie potatoes, fresh cut fries, and two handmade buttermilk biscuits ($2.50 each). It took about 5-10 minutes until our food was ready.
I’ve never tried southern fried chicken before, so my only reference is Olive Chicken, KFC, and Church’s Chicken. Here’s my take on it. The chicken is definitely high-quality. You can taste the difference in the texture, the meatiness, and the clean taste of the chicken. The skin was crispy but I didn’t find it greasy. Unlike Olive Chicken, Cluck and Cleaver’s version doesn’t rely on a heavy batter. The seasoning was subtle, there aren’t those spices that you would find at KFC. Since this was “real” chicken, it was filling. I was full after two pieces, which is not typical of me.
Initially, I thought the $2.50 price tag for a small biscuit was high. Well, you pay for quality. The exterior was flaky and melted on your tongue. The interior was so soft, and teared apart like cotton candy. I predict these biscuits are going to win awards in Avenue Magazine. I’m going to bring my vegetarian friend Jaime here for those biscuits.
The fries were a generous portion and very good. Crispy and addicting. I should have ordered some gravy to dunk the fries in.
The potatoes are made with the rotisserie chicken drippings. The potatoes tasted like the local variety I buy from Market 17, the type that has so much flavour you don’t need to add anything but a sprinkle of salt.
One tip. Normally I save the skin and eat it separately from the chicken, a gross habit I learned growing up in a KFC loving family. At Cluck & Cleaver, I prefer to eat the skin with the chicken. The skin taste better with the meat than on its own.