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Dec 31, 2010 02:39 PM

B'ham fried chicken- Max's Deli of Seafood & Chicken Box?

I'm looking for Birmingham's finest take-out fried chicken. My search boils it down to a choice between Max's Delicatessen or Seafood & Chicken Box. What are your thoughts? Should I add other places to my search? Thanks ahead 'hounds.

Seafood & Chicken Box
1617B Center Point Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35215

Max's Delicatessen
3431 Colonnade Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35243

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  1. Max's Deli- if you read the thread below you need not search any further-I plan to go very soon but I am starting a BIG diet soon!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: hlsess

      Do you mean a diet of BIG things?

      1. re: johnnystiletto

        I'll "third" the vote for Max's. Let us know which you go with, and how you like it.

        1. re: Jannae

          Why not try them both yourself and decide? I like the chicken at both places. I personally prefer the salty, crystalline crunch of the chicken at SCB. I find Max's fried chicken juicy and nicely crispy, but rather bland in flavor by comparison. Just my opinion. I go to Max's for a sandwich (but why no liverwurst, for crying out loud)? I also am not a huge fan of Max's sauteed spinach/onion side which many others seem to love. It has an odd mouthfeel that is a little gritty/pasty. I'd rather have a big bowl of the wonderful meaty collards at Jim N Nick's or a steaming bowl of turnip green perfection at Tin Roof BBQ (now closed) any day. Sorry for the tangent.

          At some point you should try the fried chicken wings at Green Acres, though I'm not sure I've been to the "best" Green Acres. I drove by the one that I heard was "the best", but was a little uneasy disembarking in that neighborhood. I wish we could get a Wild Wings Cafe here in "the ham". WWC was my favorite "wings joint" in Charleston SC when I lived there. Closest WWCs are in the Atlanta area now. I had wings from Exotic Wings in the past...they weren't bad. On Tap's wings are pretty good, too. All three of these are probably better than most other places in Birmingham including Baumhower's whose tiny overcooked flavorless wings are just heartbreaking. My son likes to go there, though, so I sit and sulk and dream of better wings.

          For excellent chicken fingers, it's Tavern at the Summit for me (their fries, cole slaw, and creamed spinach are also excellent).

          I think it's very safe to say that "the best" fried chicken (like most "best" food picks) is highly subjective. Get a short list of recommendations and try them all.

          1. re: curej

            curej, Have you had the chicken fingers at The Baskits over on Greensprings? I've heard wonderful things about them...

            1. re: johnnystiletto

              @Curej: I *love* the chicken at SCB but gracious is it ever salty. I've also been to the 'best' Green Acres but it is always closed when I go by (the one between Tarrant City and Acipco, right? I know that is a far distance between the two but my husband always drives and for whatever reason I don't pay a lot of attention).

              Ah, I hate to admit it - because it's a chain - but the best chicken fingers I've had are at J. Alexander's at the Galleria. Lawsy those are good! I've had the ones at The Baskits but J. Alexander's still gets my vote.

              Was it last year when the Bham News did a 'best in the city' competition and the subject was best chicken fingers? The winner was the Dairy Queen out in Alabaster in that giant newish shopping center, because they still do theirs from scratch. We drove out there and they were quite fine but not my faves.

              Have you ever noticed, though, that dairy bars almost always have great chicken fingers?

              1. re: deepfriedkudzu

                by curej-Do you mean a diet of BIG things? Alot of salad and water-I am just UP a few lbs but it'll fall off once I get bakc to work and not eating and drinking so much!!
                I love chicken fingers and have heard about the ones at the Tavern-My son lives on them...Maybe we can go there and I can get a salad and have a taste of his checken finger.

                1. re: deepfriedkudzu

                  @DFK Glad that you still *love* it...We are apparently in agreement. The Green Acres I'm talking about was northeast of the (closed) Carraway Hospital, north of 20/59.

                  Have frequented J. Alexanders, but have never tried the chicken fingers. Thanks for the head's up.

                  Interesting point about dairy bars and chicken fingers. Had not made the connection, but we haven't frequented dairy bars because we are frozen custard fans and there is still no "really"good frozen custard in Birmingham. (How I miss Poppa's in Tuscalossa) and Kohr's or Abbott's in Syracuse where my in-laws reside.

                2. re: johnnystiletto

                  @johnnystilleto. Yes, but I really don't think they (or anyone else's) hold a candle to the ones at Tavern at the Summit.

                  1. re: curej

                    gotta agree that tavern at the summit has good chicken fingers. i also really like their caesar salads.

                    also, with chicken fingers, i think different people have different preferences when it comes to breading. i HATE a super-breaded, almost 'bubbly' looking chicken finger. i really prefer an almost panko-like breading, and strangely enough, when i crave chicken fingers, i drive all the way downtown to uab to eat them at al's. maybe it's because they kept me fed all through late-night study sessions or were the only thing open after a night out at the bar, but i LOVE their chicken fingers, even if they likely arrive frozen from a distributor.

                    1. re: johnnystiletto

                      I like the fingers at J Clyde. I usually only order them and/or the hummus plate.

                      Went to Max's yesterday to try the famed fried chicken. I love their reubens and think they easily have the best corned beef in town plus delicious bread so it's hard to stray from the reuben or even rachel. I ordered the fried chicken and some fries, plus the onion rings. The chicken arrived in about 15 min as expected but when I tore into the breast, a large portion of the meat by the bone was undercooked and still fleshy. I used to cook around 300-400+ chicken fingers (and sometimes whole chicken pieces) a shift at a restaurant, so I know undercooked and I was not just being squeamish. I put the leg on my girlfiend's plate and just asked the waitress to just toss the breast back in the fryer for a few minutes. She took the whole plate and came back 10 minutes later with all of it re-fried. This was a problem because refrying causes the previously fried crust to shake a little loose. Ehhh. Otherwise, the chicken was very good - nice crunchy crust, moist brined meat, a little under-salted compared to the SCB but they severely over-salt theirs. Steak fries were steak fries and the rings were just ok (assume they were sysco too). Overall, I liked the fried chicken but when I return will probably get the reuben. My girlfriend had one of those and it was as awesome as always. Nice touch that both the waitress and owner stopped by to apologize for the undercooked chicken but hey it happens.

                      1. re: Dax

                        @Dax and DFK: I wonder if SCB would go a little easier on the salt if we asked?

                        1. re: curej

                          The hubby and I were attending a meeting over in the Roebuck area last night, so we stopped by the SCB for dinner. He's never been, and it has been a while since I was there myself.

                          The waitress did say you can ask for a "light dusting" of the seasonings. So, we gave that a try, and it was actually not too bad.

                          The shrimp was pretty good, nice sized pieces battered and lightly dusted with what seems to be the same or similar crust as the chicken. The chicken leg I had to go with the shrimp was nice, very juicy with a good crust.

                          As for which I would prefer? I'm still leaning more towards Max's chicken, but SCB with a light dusting is a close almost tie to Max's chicken.

                          I noticed they also have grilled and blackened options on their menu. Must give that a try next time we're out on that side of town.

                      2. re: johnnystiletto

                        @johnnystiletto Where's Al's? I work at UAB, so maybe it'd be a reasonable destination for lunch.

                        1. re: curej

                          curej: Al's is the Purple Onion clone off of 10th Avenue south near Formaggios. I THINK the cross street is 16th. It's pretty much a replica of Purple Onion; nothing fancy, but still a great place to grab a quick lunch or some hangover/post-imbibe eats since they're open 24 hours.

                          I'm also a big fan of the bacon cheeseburgers, and I'm not really even a big burger eater.

                          Purple Onion
                          1550 Montgomery Hwy Ste P, Birmingham, AL 35216

                  2. re: curej

                    Thanks for your comments. I'm with you curej about trying them both. I'll stop at SCB on the way to NOLA and at MAX's on the return. Thanks again.

              2. Jim & Nick's BBQ gets my vote for best fried chicken fingers, but my favorite fried chicken is from the Magic City Grill downtown.

                Magic City Grill
                2201 3rd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203

                1. I realize I'm a little late in replying on this thread, but have to throw in my 2 cents - i LOVE SCB and was really excited to try Max's, as I this their Reubens are fantastic and had heard such rave reviews of the new fried chicken there. However, I could not have been more disappointed. I don't know if I just went on an off day or what, but it was nearly inedible. The chicken was dry and tough and had a very distinct flavor of freezer burn. I'll stick with SCB for now, although I might give Max's another shot in the future.