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May 6, 2005 11:56 PM

Louisiana Fried Chicken in Oakland

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Finally got around to trying that new chicken place on Broadway just before Grand. Whenever I drive home that way, the place looks crowded.

The place was crowded again this evening when I stopped by.

They have various combos and sides (ala Boston Market yuck yuck ptooooey) such as mac and cheese, greens, yams, cole slaw and can't remember what else. They also have what they call "hot water corn bread".

Bought chicken wings, thighs and legs. I was a little worried when I saw the chicken - it looked really thickly covered in batter and very dark brown (as if overcooked). But the folks in line and at the tables seemed happy enough, so I went ahead.

Well, I wouldn't bother with this place. The greens were almost inedible, with a tinny taste. The mac and cheese was almost tasteless with very little visible cheese.

The cornbread was truly awful. It was a sort of oblong thing about 1/3 inch thick. It was gummy and bland. The dinner rolls (complimentary) were terrible - looked like they were purchased by the case at some day-old place. I didn't taste them (I have SOME brains).

The yams were very good, too sweet, but very good. The chicken was not terrible but not something I'd seek out. I like Merritt Restaurant's better (If you're going to go the clogged artery route, it's a better bang for your cholesterol buck).

My husband gasped that the first piece of chicken he bit into was searingly spicy. Mine was not spicy at all. The chicken wasn't overcooked, but it had no real taste so there was no reason to eat it. We left a lot uneaten.

It was pretty cheap. Less than $20 for 8 pieces of chicken, 3 sides and the cornbread. Merritt Restaurant is about the same price.

I was verrry disappointed, thinking as I did that we had a new take-out option for those too wiped out to cook nights. I guess it's back to the Afghan place at Emeryville Public Market for us.

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  1. You are the second person this week to favorably comment on Merritt Restaurant's fried chicken. I've been reluctant to try the chicken because I've tried to eat there three times and each time found the food barely edible. So what makes the fried chicken so good? I'd be willing to try just the chicken.

    10 Replies
    1. re: MKatrinaToo
      Melanie Wong

      Here's a link to my old post on the fried chicken and waffle. Don't think much has changed at Merritt Bakery --- best not to stray far from the chicken.



      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I tried Chicken and Waffle near Jack London Square and was disappointed with the chicken and sides, though it's not their fault I didn't order a waffle.
        Last Friday I tried Mayas in S.F. on Holloway about 12 blocks east of S.F. State. Their fried chicken was superb as were the smothered pork chop and b.b.q. Sadly not another soul in what ought to be a Soul Food Mecca.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Thank you for the info and link; I am now resolved that as soon as I don't feel as "fluffy" (I'm not overweight--just fluffy!)or when my fried chicken craving hits, I will run right down to Merritt Bakery and order the bucket. (Most likely the craving will hit far sooner than the fluff factor.)

        2. re: MKatrinaToo

          Regarding the spiciness of the Louisiana fried chicken... it IS weird to have different flavoring in different pieces, but they were piles of chicken behind the counter and coming out of the friers. My husband and I don't have differing spice tastes/monitors. I think he simply got a piece that had a clump of unmixed-in spices in it. He said today that the other pieces were pretty bland. The chicken WAS pretty juicy and, if the sides were better, maybe I'd give it another try.

          Regarding Merritt Restaurant...I never actually eat at the Restaurant. I pick up the chicken at the take-out counter. I actually like their gummy-esque country gravy, too. Nobody on this list is ever going to trust me again after this. The mashed potatoes are not that great, but they seem like real potatoes (not dehydrated). I also like their cole slaw (a tad piquant).

          The advice not to ever order anything else there (including their baked goods) is wise indeed. Their cookies have never been anywhere near butter and have that terrible taste that many brands and some other bakeries have...what is it? "Butter" flavored oil? Crisco and salt? Margarine? Yeuch.

          I can't remember who talked about Our Place...where is it exactly? Are they open for dinner? Is it an Ethiopian place? Do they do take out?

          1. re: oakjoan
            Marc Wallace

            Our Place is right near LFC -- just half a block away, down Franklin.

            Part of why Our Place doesn't have lines is probably the hideous location. The only reason you'd be on Franklin between 21st and 22nd is if you are driving away from a parking lot and towards the highway, and because of the curves in the road (and people double parking outside the bank), it's hard to pay attention to restaurants. It's not even a great walking area, since the crosswalks in that area are poorly positioned (and dangerous).

            It's mostly a soul food / Carribean place. Jerk chicken, calypso chicken, ital, bbq meatballs. Sides are greens, rice and peas, etc. Prices are cheap (meals are $4.50 and come with a side).

            I could have sworn that their menu included hours, but my scan of it does not have them. Memory suggests 10a-10p five days a week, with two weekdays off (Tues/Wed I think). You might want to call to confirm.

            Our Place
            2123 Franklin

   is listed as a contact email, but it's right under "catering available", so might not be for the restaurant.

            1. re: Marc Wallace
              Marc Wallace

              Oddly enough, I had to drive by there a few times today.

              It (Our Place) has a red awning, and is on the righthand side as you drive up Franklin.

              There's also a bar next door that proclaims "free buffet" (what does that imply??) and "$2 happy hour". Hmm.

              1. re: Marc Wallace

                yes, that bar opened about the same time Luka's did, and is on the second floor I am pretty sure (haven't actually been in it), so I figure it needs to offer a free buffet to have any hope of attracting customers (given the awful location, second floor, such a great place as Lukas a block away...)..I think it is called 'The Office' if you ever want to try it..

                btw, Marc, have you actually tried Our Place yet? I think I may suggest it as next on the Chowdown lunch series list....

                btw, the restaurant at the top of the Kaiser Roof Garden (Park Central) now has a bar and is offering free food at happy hour as long as it lasts...not a buffet, different offerings every night. I wouldn't vouch for the quality, though I must admit the last time I got dragged to a work lunch there (lunch is mostly groups from Kaiser Center tenants), it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, based on previous experience...

                1. re: susancinsf
                  Marc Wallace

                  It's near Luka's... it's on the second floor... no, I won't go there. ;-)

                  Still haven't tried Our Place. Been meaning to for a long time, but between weather, work, and travel, haven't made it. One of us had better try it before proposing it.

                  And we need to make sure they can handle sixteen ravenous hounds all at once...

                  When's the Park Central happy hour? And what sorts of foods do they offer?

                  1. re: Marc Wallace

                    Ok, just got in the office, so can look at the info I had here: actually, it is Central Park, and actually, the info I have only says that the food specials were for April, so not sure what happening this month. Some of them did look a little tempting I have to admit: Thursdays was buttermilk fried chicken with cole slaw: free with a Maker's Mark Manhattan for $4, and Wednesdays was smoked brisket and garlic mashed potatoes, free with a $3 pint of Guiness, from 4:30 till the food was gone...April was just impossible for me to check it out, but I might one of these days....

          2. re: MKatrinaToo

            Like others, the only thing I ever get at Merritt Bakery is the fried chicken. It is always juicy, especially the breasts, and the wings are nicely crunchy most of the time. It's the breading that really draws me, as it tends to be a lot thinner and crisper than at most places.

          3. Do your husband and you generally agree as to what is 'spicy'? I'm wondering if you have any idea whether the difference in spiciness is a result of inconsistency, or a reflection of your different spice tolerance levels? (seems odd to me to have that much inconsistency; does it mean the chicken came from two different batches?).

            Sorry to hear your experience wasn't better, since of course there aren't a lot of options in the neighborhood. I probably will try it for myself eventually, just because it is so close to work, but think I will head to Our Place first (which, interestingly, doesn't seem to have lines. Have no idea what that means...)

            1. I just stumbled across this site after googling Louisiana Fried Chicken in Oakland. Looks like a great resource. Wanted to add my two cents. I ride bart to work in SF and ride past LFC twice a day. I kept meaning to give it a try. Last night the fridge was looking pretty bare so my wife and I gave it a try.

              Preface: we (sadly) find ourselves at KFC about once a month when we're too exhausted from work to make dinner or even deal with a restaurant. These days it's just about the only fast food place I can tolerate. I am happy to announce that I will suffer the slings and arrows of KFC no longer!

              Seriously, I was quite pleased with my experience at LFC. The chicken was crispy and juicy and just the right amount of spicy. The cole slaw was lightly dressed and very fresh. The yams (as you mentioned) were a little sweet but still quite good. I'd never heard of hot water cornbread, but it was a little like something my mom used to make called hush-puppies. Basically a fried cornmeal batter formed into little cakes. This may seem silly, but I was also pleased to find strawberry soda offered in the soda fountain. One warning however, the peach cobbler was made with canned peaches and had so much cardamom that it was inedible. All in all, the prices were about the same as KFC, and the food was MUCH better.

              It took about 10 minutes from when I walked in the door till I had my food, which is just fine. Also (I hope I don't come off as a bigot) I was the only white person there, which to me is a good sign. If I go to a crowded Korean restaurant and I'm the only person there that speaks English, I am usually in for an excellent meal. Same story with LFC.

              So, I'm sorry to hear your meal was less satisfying, but I wanted to add my own take just in case others were dissuaded by your experience.

              Oops, almost forgot to introduce myself. I'm Aaron. Jewish, 27, Mac tech geek, born and raised in the beast in pig latin.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Aaron
                Melanie Wong

                Hi Aaron, glad you found us. I hope we'll hear more from you on your favorite bites.

                Sounds like things are coming together at LFC with another month's experience under the belt.

              2. DOH! Ok, so NOW I've read the ReadBeforePosting guidelines. I managed to get both things wrong. Used my first name AND changed the subject. Apologies.

                1. s
                  Sir Fredrick of Berkeley

                  Let me tell you one thang and one thang only...the Lousiana Fried Chicken has brought back the good old days of fried foods to your table that KFC once had when I was a child back in the 60's. The chicken is moist and the season is spicey that brings home the flavor of home cooking that so many of you want after the 12 plus hour days of work. That is the cycle of life of a good establishment...swift and smiles all around and food filling bellies to the max...