Korean Fried Chicken at Tutti’s Café and Grill in Santa Clara
Yesterday William met me in Koreatown to check out the KFC at Tutti’s. He arrived before I did and called to tell me that it was in the space in front of Real Ice Cream (aka Bangalore Café).
Tutti’s Café and Grill
Stepping inside, immediately in front and center is a Henny Penny rotisserie with a full load of browning birds. Tutti’s has a fairly standard Korean menu with a special page devoted to the chicken choices: whole rotisserie, whole fried, and wings with various sauces.
The menu also has an insert for daily specials by day of the week, priced at $5.99. I ordered the omu raisu from this page, but found out when the bill came that the price is only valid at lunch time.
The other parties there were all eating golden brown chicken in some form, and bones were strewn over the tables. We decided to go with the whole fried chicken, $12.95, served with shredded cabbage and pickled daikon, along with salt seasoned with black pepper and a spicy ketchup-y like sauce for dipping. This was a smallish bird, first cooked on the rotisserie, then fried whole, and cut into quarters to serve. Just looking at the cut edge of the meat, it was clear that this would be very dry. We both loved the crackly skin, but even the thigh meat was dry and the breast meat was parched and almost dusty. The wing portion was completely dessicated to a jerky-like texture and couldn’t be pulled off the bone. We polished off the delectable skin, as I tried to do a mental calculus that maybe this wasn’t that bad a deal compared to $25 for a Peking duck that we eat for the skin alone. No, that’s delusional. Basically we got some chicken skin and two edible, small drumsticks for our money here.
Fried whole chicken
The salad served with the bird was shredded cabbage and a thousand island like dressing. We liked the daikon cubes though they were quite sulfurous initially.
I packed up the dry breasts and the bones, and they’re simmering for chicken stock right now. William did not care for his one meal at 99 Chicken nor did I the chicken at Trendy Bean. We’re coming to the conclusion that this might not be our style of chicken.
The seven panchan served with omu raisu were quite generic. Pleasant, but nothing to write home about. My favorite was the seaweed one, and Willliam liked the more mature kimchee with scallions.
The omu raisu was a very thin omelet wrapped around some seasoned pearly rice studded with veggies and some ground beef, all topped with a squiggle of ketchup. I can understand the comfort factor and appeal at work here. The rice was actually pretty tasty, but the lumps of ground beef were completely unseasoned creating blank places in the middle of a mouthful. An interesting effect, though not necessarily one I’d like to repeat.
We noticed that the naeng myun seemed to be popular. Is there anything else good here?
Afterwards we stepped over to Real Ice Cream for dessert, which helped to take the edge off.
Tutti's Cafe and Grill
3075 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA
At Trendy Bean I ordered legs. It has several iterations and there may be whole chickens, but i don't remember.
When we walked out, the birds on the rotisserie were quite golden brown with bubbled skin. Wm commented that they looked quite crispy and might be less overcooked and a better bet. We also mused that future customers might want to choose a less brown bird to start with and maybe not have it be so overdone. I couldn't help but think of the Hainan style fried chicken at Cantonese places that takes the leftover steamed/poached chickens (usually still red at the bone) and drops them in the fryer to warm it up and brown the skin. They're much juicier than what we had here.