Friday, February 6, 2009

Sanitized Chicken: Honey's Kettle in Culver City

Inspired by Tony's Fried Chicken Civil War, I thought I might share my own Honey's Kettle experience. Except I didn't venture into Compton to get my deep fried poultry, not because I was scared to go, but because Culver is right next to my friend's Battlestar Galactica party. If you haven't been watching BSG, you should; if you haven't been to Honey's Kettle, then go immediately.


As I said, I wouldn't be scared away from food by the neighborhood. Anyone who has had decent soul food can tell you it's best served from behind bullet-proof glass. But for hipsters looking for a taste of the wild side without leaving the comfort of the Westside, Culver City's Honey's Kettle is perfect.

Even before LA Magazine crowned Honey's the "best fried chicken" in LA, I've been meaning to try it. As a lifelong fan of fried chicken, seemingly irreconcilable terms given the shortened life span, I would gladly check out any place that's good enough to move out of the hood. Hopefully, the Jeffersons of the chicken world is just as amazing as its Compton counterpart. I knew I had to get three things to properly evaluate Honey's--a drumstick, coleslaw, and a biscuit.

Normally, I don't choose extra crispy at KFC because I don't believe in fluff. Every part of the perfect fried chicken, meat, skin, batter, and even bone must be essential to the finished product. Double battering and frying at KFC doesn't add anything but fat. At Honey's the fried coating is different, enhancing the texture and flavor. The skin was crisp, not detracting from the flavor of the meat. I settled on a thigh and leg, and for those of you who only eat white meat, you're banished from eating poultry ever again. White meat is as close to bare sustenance as you should get. Of course, my disdain for white-meat is well documented. However, perhaps Honey's chicken is just juicy enough that the white meat may be somewhat palatable too.

The coleslaw and pickles were nothing to write about, which is a shame since my guilty pleasure is KFC coleslaw. I've been trying to find something to wean me off such a nasty habit, but so far nothing has the consistency and comfort of that industrial slop. The biscuits however, can only be captured by trying one yourself. There may have been an entire stick of butter in each biscuit to get that tenderness, but it certainly wasn't weighed down by fat. Biting into each tasty morsel delivered made me feel things that biscuits shouldn't make me feel. We'll leave it at that. Oh, and there were fries.

The best picture I could get with my iPhone

Honey's Kettle
9537 Culver Blvd,
Culver City, 90232
(310) 202-5453
$19 for 4 thighs, 4 legs, a pint of coleslaw, 4 biscuits, fries
Park at the Cardiff parking garage for two hours free



Anonymous said...

hahaha! BSG party? I used to LOOOVE BSG when... well.. you were young ;)

I've been to Honey's in CC a coupla times. The strollers and the ballet moms just scared the crap out of me. No mas!

Sounds like it's still pretty darn good tho. Honey over hot sauce gets me every time!

Anonymous said...

hello...i have been there once and the chx was soooo greasy it was almost uneatable. the biscuit was delish until my arteries closed.


Anonymous said...

what a beautiful review, i the only girl who thinks a review on a good fried chicken is most gorgeous thing ever? coleslaw is such a great weakness of mine as well. so bad but why is it SO good? so sad to hear its disappointing here though. however, wont stop me from trying this place, STAT.

Aaron said...

Anonymous: I've considered your comment, and while your point would have been better presented without the expletives and insults, I agree that I should not have characterized Compton as "ghetto." I have therefore removed the reference to "ghetto."

Secondly, my intention was not to give a backhanded comment, though I can see how it might seem that way. I have much respect for soul food, which is commonly served in neighborhoods that employ bullet-proof glass. Sure, this is a generalization, but just the same, I would be suspicious of any Chinese restaurant that is too clean. Stereotypes aside, authenticity is an important factor to me when evaluating establishments. Plenty of people would agree with me that places like Kettle in Culver are sell-outs, not true to its roots. Good food is good food, regardless of what type of area from which it originates. Also, note that I have not made any reference to race, and if you follow the history of soul food, it has origins out of necessity and poorer areas. It's not about race; it's about ingenuity.

Thirdly, my primary readership, does not have the exposure to places in South LA. I actually advocate going to try the original location rather than the sanitized restaurant in Culver. But the people who would stay on the Westside rather than venturing inland are likely to be the audience to whom I'm writing. Therefore, I do not believe I erred in appealing to this group.