BEST FRIED CHICKEN (2002)
The best fried chicken, you think, might be somewhat difficult to determine as it's one of the most common edible items around. But of course we're not talking about merely the crunch, which at Jumbo's is admittedly damn good. We're talking about the whole fried-chicken meal, the booth in which it is consumed, the other crunchers in the room. Located on the corner of one of Miami's more disagreeable streets, Jumbo's is a beacon. Bright and warm and crowded, it begs you to sit down. The combo platters are named after Miami high schools, the various fried foods delivered with a choice of two sides, which makes all the difference. When you order a Booker T. Washington at lunch, and piping hot drumsticks and legs arrive with black-eyed peas and collard greens, for $4.99, you know it doesn't get better than this. The collards are Deep South, cooked forever with bacon and its fat, and they bring out the true essence of the chicken. Not too greasy, the fried batter doesn't cling to the meat, which is ample -- these are no skinny legs. After the umpteenth visit, if you want to try something else, order the fried shrimp and conch. Again, you won't walk out hungry. As your waitress and the owner wish you well, your arteries will wish Jumbo's had never opened, for your next visit won't be far away.
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