Fried Chicken Worth Crossing the Road For
Fried chicken is a staple in the South and particularly in Virginia. Before the Colonel made “Kentucky” synonymous with fried chicken, Virginian cook Mary Randolph penned the first written recipe for it in her book, The Virginian Housewife in 1824:
“Cut them up as for the fricassee, dredge them well with flour, sprinkle them with salt, put them into a good quantity of boiling lard, and fry them a light brown, fry small pieces of mush and a quantity of parsley nicely picked to be served in the dish with the chickens, take half a pint of rich milk, add to it a small bit of butter with pepper, salt, and chopped parsley, stew it a little, and pour it over the chickens, and then garnish with the fried parsley.”
The “small pieces of mush” to be fried later became known as hushpuppies.
Patrick Evans-Hylton shares a scrumptious and juicy recipe for Virginia Fried Chicken here, but if you don’t want to make fried chicken at home, here are a half-dozen Coastal Virginia restaurants that really strut their stuff:
We love the generous plate of golden fried goodness with a very crispy exterior and moist meat inside, especially with a side of collards and cornbread. It’s a Sunday-kinda dinner, and we relish in it.
Moseberth’s Fried Chicken, Portsmouth
From a tiny stand opened in 1940, Moseberth’s has set a standard for classic fried chicken in Portsmouth. It’s always mildly spiced crust is crispy and the interior juicy.
Another chicken legacy in the region, Pollard’s has been serving the bird since 1967. The crust is light and flaky and the meat tender. Be sure to order their signature “puffs,” a doughy roll-like bread.
Supper Southern Morsels, Norfolk
Only open since mid-2014 and already Chef Ed Storey’s fried chicken is legendary. We agree. Its crispy exterior gives way to the juicy meat inside. It’s available in a full and half-size and served with black pepper gravy.
Tammy & Johnny’s, Melfa
Every so often we are drawn across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel not for the charming bed-and-breakfasts or gorgeous scenery, but for the fried chicken at Tammy & Johnny’s.
Open since the mid-1960s (the décor reflects it, but you don’t eat décor) the chicken has a very light, thin, crispy skin barely covering juicy, tender meat.
Terrapin, Virginia Beach
When you order fried chicken from a fine dining restaurant, you expect a lot. And you get it from chef/owner Rodney Einhorn. Golden, brown and delicious classic Southern fried chicken is served on Wednesdays only with a side of truffle mac & cheese, local seasonal vegetables and a glass of pinot noir for $22.