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Apr 16, 2012 05:12 PM

TC Fried Chicken & Fish: Tasty nonpedigreed fried chicken in Berkeley

Every now and again I have to satisfy the fried chicken urge but I try not to go to the chains. Sometimes this means I order it at a restaurant and pay the premium. But other times I'll just get a piece of takeout chicken, and TC 's has emerged as a tasty nonfancy option for me. Twice I've had very good FC: sizable wing with extra drummette meat attached ($1.79) and large breast with a little backbone attached ($2.75). The way the meat is cut seems to me that they are buying whole fryers and cutting them. Light, crisp flour coating fried just right and greaseless. Meat is juicy and hot. They use a seasoning that has just a hint of celery salt (odd but it works) and no MSG. They make fries to order and shower them with the same salt. Oil tasted fresh and neutral. Prices are comparable to chains but you're supporting a local independent:

2 pc combo w drink and side = $6.75
The larger sizes work out to ~ $2.00/pc but comes with sides and biscuits: 8 pc combo w 2 large sides and biscuits = $16.95

They also make fried fish and a variety of sides. Bonus: there's a donut counter.

Rainbow Donuts | TC Fried Chicken & Fish
2025 San Pablo/University, Berkeley, CA

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  1. Is it still run by an Asian family or under new ownership?

    3 Replies
    1. re: chocolatetartguy

      I think there's been a change of ownership but I don't know when. I used to go there to get donuts for work but that was quite a few yrs ago and I recall the donut ladies were friendly older Asians. There were a couple of different young Asian women working behind the counter but no evidence of a "family". The cook is not Asian, and I hope is TC himself (I ate a piece there and he dropped by to ask how I liked it).

      1. re: rubadubgdub

        What sides do they have? How are the biscuits?

        Wish I had known about TC's last week. I was home without a car and a kitchen in need of remodeling and walking around the neighborhood looking for dinner.

        1. re: chocolatetartguy

          I only had fries one time (very good, fried to order and seasoned with their secret salt, small was plenty), so you'll have to go and report back. The menu says corn, mashed potatoes/fries/potato salad, mac n cheese, mac salad, cole slaw, dirty rice, shrimp gumbo ($3.99), rice n beans, greens. Priced at $1.25 - 2.25 for smalls, $2.00-4.00 for large, 0.75/biscuit.

    2. Thanks for giving an independent a try. The East Bay is home to many but we rarely hear about them. Not all of them are good, yet I hope that more 'hounds will follow your lead and do some exploration.

      BFC Cajun in Oakland (aka Best Chicken and Fish Restaurant)

      East Bay BBQ (and Fried Chicken): Brookfield Food Center in Oakland

      1 Reply
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        BFC is under new ownership, and they're reopening next week serving a similar menu but I doubt it will be the same.

        1. Finally made it to TC's last Saturday when I happened to be walking by right around 8. The open sign was still on so I rushed in and was able to score the last fried chicken of the night. I had eaten at Popeye's the previous Tuesday, so I was interested in comparing the two.

          I thought TC's was a clear winner. The chicken tasted fresher and the breading was way less salty and greasy but still nicely crispy. Popeye's still gives them a run for their money though, being that a leg and thigh are only 1.29 on Tuesdays and the pieces are larger. Still like Popeye's, but worry about its effect on my blood pressure.

          On the sides, I would call it TC's by a nose. I had a generous medium container of real dirty rice with plenty of chicken liver flavor and a bit of heat. Popeye's is edible but not really the same animal. I prefer Popeye's flakier biscuits. TC's "taste like homemade" but they are on the bready side. They did, however, make for a nice neutral shortcake topped with my own boysenberries and some half and half. They were out of the other sides, burt I expect that TC's would win out. They have shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice, mac and cheese.

          3 Replies
          1. re: chocolatetartguy

            Popeye's biscuits are way salty for me. What I loved best at TC was the mac and cheese. It was delicious. Popeye's is fairly plastic.

            1. re: rccola

              They are kind of salty, but what I like about Popeye's biscuits is the sort of gummy texture when you chew them. When I tried one of their biscuits as short cake with boysenberries and half and half it was clearly salty. Their mac and cheese is OK. I usually crumble some real cheese into it and it is not half bad.

              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                I tell them not to put the biscuit in. It tastes too salty and buttery and I can't give it to the dog because it's way too salty for him. If you have any interest, go to Lucky's and get SACO dried buttermilk and make yourself the best biscuits. Add more sugar for sweet, less for savory. Add flax seed for extra crispness. I'd die for one but can't just make one and my husband won't eat them. He's peculiar.

          2. Crispy, moist, huge fried chicken wings with little tubs of hot sauce on the side (and a menu with many other great-looking Southern and soul food dishes, but I can't get past the chicken wings):

            3627 San Pablo Ave (between 36th St & 37th St)
            Emeryville, CA 94608
            (510) 547-9238

            1 Reply
            1. re: dordogne

              I tried the wings, and they were nice. I would call it straight up fried chicken, with no additional spices, and the hot sauce tastes like Crystal. $1.50/ea. As I waited for my order, the server carried out gargantuan dinners (each dinner platter was ~14" long!), so if you're a big eater, this is the place for you.