Last night's episode of Crave on the Food Network was "Fried Chicken: Deep Fried Love in a Bucket," during which the food-critic host, Troy Johnson, gnawed his way through several states looking for "the most crave-worthy fried chicken." There was no Miami stop, but fear not, because here at Short Order, we continue our tour of some local faves.
We kicked it all off last week with the seasonal fried chicken feast at Michy's, and this week we bring you a glimpse of Magnum Lounge's clucking dish. This red-velvet-draped piano lounge is an unlikely spot for the Southern specialty, but don't let the dim lighting and mirrored walls fool you -- this supper club will have you doing the chicken dance in no time.
Owner Jeffrey Landman has been dishing out some good grub for years, and at Magnum Lounge, he somehow magically makes a dated menu seem very au courant with a fried chicken dinner nestled nicely between a rib eye steak and Maryland crabcakes.
As should be expected for $27, an overwhelmingly large plate arrives with four pieces of chicken resting on a mound of dense mashed potatoes. Before we dig in, we note the rest of the presentation and can't help but wonder if we've entered a time warp. Steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots are clustered next to a cup of white gravy, and the plate is sprinkled with what appears to be Italian parsley for color. But who's here for sides anyway -- it's all about the the grande dame. As we take the first bite of chicken, the sad-looking broccoli becomes a mere afterthought. Our mouth meets a spicy crust with a definite peppery hint, and the perfectly crisp coating gives way to tender and equally flavorful meat. We gnaw through two and half pieces before we surface for air. The sides are left untouched, but we don't have room anyway. If you're looking for
a fried-chicken indulgence and an evening full of interesting characters, this is your
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SHOW ME HOW
For Baltimore boy Landman, it's all about comfort food, and his mother's recipes take center stage. Don't tell Glenda Granger, the sultry singer who makes sure the spotlight is on her as she belts through one quintessential lounge tune after another.
Next week, it's back to Miami Beach, where we check out chef Jamie de Rosa's labor of love at the Tudor House.