Stonehill Tavern (Dana Point) - Michael Mina changed my mind about fried chicken
I have never been a fan of fried chicken. I'm one of those people who prefer boneless skinless chicken breast. Plus many years ago I was served fried chicken that was still bloody and raw in the middle and that left a permanent scar on my food psyche. But this weekend I had dinner at Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis Monarch Beach (fantastic hotel, btw). Fortuitously, I was with a friend who prefers dark meat chicken, so we decided to share the "WHOLE-FRIED JIDORI CHICKEN FOR TWO// long beans, truffled mac & cheese, sweet onion jus." I'm pretty sure it was the best restaurant chicken I've ever had. The breast was unbelievably moist and flavorful, and the skin didn't have any of the rubberiness that I associate with every piece of chicken skin I've ever eaten before. It was crispy melt in your mouth essence of chicken. The long beans and truffled macaroni & cheese were delicious eaten together, with the crunch of the beans contrasting with the creamy richness of the mac & cheese. (the sweet onion jus also included some onion rings - good but kind of superfluous.) Also at $29/person this was one of least expensive entrees on the menu, and the chicken "for 2" would easily have been enough food for 3 people, especially with appetizers and all the little extras we were served. All in all a great meal.