Fried Chicken in Detroit or Western Suburbs
What is the best place for fried chicken in the area? A friend and I are trying every fried chicken place we can find to see if we think it is better or worse than KFC, which is our baseline.
Well, a lot of people tend to rave about the fried chicken at Beans & Cornbread: A Soulful Bistro in Southfield on Northwestern Highway. I've had it, and it is darned tasty, but I don't know what your taste scale is. I wouldn't say that it's the best I've had, either, but I couldn't cite where the best fried chicken I've had, is.
About KFC...while it does have some tasty batter, too often the chicken-to-batter ratio is just, well, disgustingly low. I certainly like good fried chicken, but you can literally take an entire bite of some KFC pieces and literally get no actual meat. It's good, but even I have my "kill your arteries but have fun doing it" limits. KFC often surpasses that. Plus, dollar for dollar, KFC is probably the priciest fried chicken out there, at least in terms of fast food fried chicken.
As well, their side dishes are *terrible*. Can't stand their fake mashed potatoes (and the gravy is positively gross), their cole slaw is edible but certainly not good, they somehow manage to beat the corn on the cob into some defeated version of itself, etc. That's one thing that's for *certain* about Beans & Cornbread's food: their sides are fan-freaking-tastic. And the tiny sweet potato muffins they bring to the table are worth the trip alone.
Oh, sorry. You caught me babbling. ;)
I didn't mean that KFC is my favorite - it is just the baseline because it is the most commonly found fried chicken. As for their sides, I like their coleslaw. As for fast food chicken, Popeyes isn't any better than K Fry, in my view. I do like their spicy mashed potatoes and gravy, though. I might try the place in Southfield someday, but it is pretty far out of the way for me, so it won't be anytime soon.
I second, third and fourth the recommendation of Beans and Cornbread. Their fried chicken is FAB as are ll of their sides! The BEST greens, potato salad and black eyed peas. Also, friendly local ownership, great management and staff. As Boagman mentioned in a post about fish and chips, it's the kind of place where you like spending your duckets!
And you know, if the whole place were burning down, and they could only save *one single recipe* before the place was totally engulfed in flames, I'd be screaming, "Save the Sweet Potato Muffins recipe!" at the top of my lungs.
I do agree that, for the most part, their sides are great. There are some that I don't care for just based on my own personal tastes (doesn't mean that they aren't good, or that they aren't quality), and on occasion a side dish will come out a bit cold or something. But overall? They really know their stuff there.
Here's a tip from your Uncle Boagman: if you're going after church on a Sunday afternoon, be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait for a table. Then be prepared to wait some more. It is nothing short of a *destination* for folks to go after church from miles around. I'm always fascinated with the snazzy outfits (especially the hats the ladies wear) that are present on Sunday afternoon...everyone's decked out in their Sunday best, and it really adds some character to the place, as well.
I always gorge myself on those muffins, though...I'm not a proud man. ;)
As simple as it sounds, you will find the best fried chicken in the kitchen of someone you know or are friends with; it will be made with care and love.
Try Steve's Soul Food, other soul food spots along Grand River, Van Dyke, Mack, Gratiot, Jefferson, or the kitchens of those who invite you in with open arms and open pots and pans!
Not sure if Ypsilanti is really considered part of Western Suburbs or not, but Haab's "Chicken in the Basket" is always a sure winner. The pieces are pan-fried, flavorful, and impressively sized. Since it is just pan-fried there is not excessive batter either. And it comes (all in the same basket) with some of the best shoestring potatoes you'll find ( certainly the best shoestring potatoes in Washtenaw county).
It used to be "Chicken in the Rough", an old-time patented pan frying process which was considered a franchise. From what I can tell, it had laid mostly dormant for years and was a franchise in name only. A new owner did eventually emerge though and apparently tried to cheapen the ingredients to make the process mass-marketable. Haab's would have none of it. Ergo, it is now simply "Chicken in the Basket". Sadly, they had to take down all of their quaint and wonderful "Chicken in the Rough" paraphernalia and trappings they had assembled for decades. Fortunately the food itself is as good as ever!