Friday, January 9, 2009

Skin Is In

For lunch today I decided to go to a little diner-esque type restaurant that I started frequenting every now and again since I have been working in Canton. Nicole's is a cute little place, with the daily specials on the wall, the pies safely tucked behind the glass case. The restaurant is located on Rt. 30, east of downtown and has a storefront that looks like this:

Normally, I have the double cheeseburger. While their burger is exceptionally juicy and good, today I decided to go with another menu item that has been calling out to me lately, fried chicken. Well, technically it is broasted chicken. I decided to go with the two breast/two wing combo, which included dinner rolls and two sides. I choose the mash potatoes and gravy and the vegetable of the day, green beans.

The dinner rolls were your standard fare, although it was nice that they came out warmed (and the butter cups softened). Nothing noteworthy flavor-wise, but not out of place in a restaurant like this.

My lunch took a while longer to prepare than normal, but it was well worth the wait.

I could tell that the mashed potatoes were homemade because there was the occasional lump (which I actually like). The gravy was just a bit too thick and gloppy. The green beans were canned, reheated and held for service. To be honest, the thing that struck me about the meal overall was its lack of salt. I don't know if this was intentional or not. The only thing that was seasoned properly, if not a little too aggressively was the gravy. Which, when eaten together with the potatoes, "fixed" the potatoes.

Now, on to the star of the plate, the chicken. It was hot. It was juicy. The fried chicken skin was a total revelation. So many times the skin just isn't done right and it's far more preferable to simply discard it. Today is one of the few times that I not only ate all of the chicken skin that was on my plate, but actually thought it would be great if there was more for me to eat. The only problem with the chicken was that it, too, was underseasoned.

Here is a shot of one of the chicken breasts after pulling some of the meat off the bone.

As I got up to leave, the lunch rush had pretty much come and gone, so I had a chance to chat with the cook. I had presumed that broasting was simply pressure frying. But apparently, the chicken is marinated first before frying. I was going to suggest that maybe they brine the chicken before cooking it, and maybe she was equating brining with marinating, but I did mention that the chicken, while hot, juicy, and crispy, was a bit underseasoned.

Nicole's is pretty decent. They have some things I really like there. They also have some things that I will pass on. They do make a lot more of their menu items from scratch than not, but clearly the green beans I was served today more than likely came from a large Sysco-esque type can. Check them out if you happen to be in the area.

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