26. Smoked stuffed chicken leg
> Restaurant: Baker Boys BBQ
> City: Gonzalez, Texas
This popular barbecue place east of San Antonio serves one dish that all the other ‘cue emporiums around the state don’t — this unusual chicken leg. It’s stuffed with onions and jalapeños and smoked into crispness. As Texas Monthly noted: “Beautiful it’s not; tasty it is.”
27. Spring onion chicken in pepper sauce
> Restaurant: Chengdu Taste
> City: Alhambra, California
The late Pulitzer-Prize-winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold noted back in 2013 that Chengdu Taste “was pretty much acclaimed as the best Sichuan restaurant in [the Los Angeles area] from the first days of its opening.” This unusual dish consists of cold poached chicken pieces in a vivid green broth given punch by chiles and mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns. It’s a refreshing contrast to all those preparations of heavily breaded fried chicken pieces that fill the poultry sections of so many Chinese menus.
28. Chicken tandoori
> Restaurant: Dawat
> City: New York City
New York is full of new Indian restaurants, many of them specializing in regional cuisines beyond the usual, or creating dishes that are merely Indian-inspired. Dawat’s menu and sensibility are under the direction of venerable cookbook writer and actress Madhur Jaffrey. Much of what she offers is classic Indian fare adapted for contemporary tastes — but her tandoori chicken is a straightforward and delicious interpretation of an often mistreated northern Indian essential.
29. X hot fried chicken
> Restaurant: Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack
> City: Nashville, Tennessee
It now has many competitors around the country in the hot (i.e., spicy) chicken world, but Prince’s — almost a century old and run by founder Thorton Prince’s great-niece — is still the gold standard for the dish. Fried dark and crisp and served atop white bread, it comes in plain, mild, medium, hot, X hot, XX hot, and XXX hot. The X hot version has plenty of spice, and is about as fiery as you’d want it, if you’d still like to taste the delicious chicken.
> Restaurant: Torimatsu
> City: Gardena, California
“Yakitori” literally means grilled (or burned) bird in Japanese — which is to say chicken skewered and cooked on a charcoal or gas grill. Torimatsu is a yakitori specialist, preparing bite-size pieces of chicken wings, breast, thighs, and even chicken tails and giblets, as well as chicken meatballs (some skewers also have green onion or other vegetables). Grilled on an extra-hot charcoal called binchotan, the results are all tender and perfectly cooked.
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