Gallery: Staff Picks: 8 Great Chicken Dishes in Chicago

Tony's Three Chili Chicken At Lao Sze Chuan ($11.45)
Tony's Three Chili Chicken At Lao Sze Chuan ($11.45)

Tony's Three Chili Chicken has power over me. I know that it is cooked by humans using earthly powers, but how do the nuggets of fried chicken manage to stay so shatteringly crisp and also miraculously juicy? Why does the combination of numbing Sichuan peppercorns and spicy dried red chiles produce some strange chemical addiction in my brain? Of course, I'm not the only one afflicted with the desire for more three chili chicken in my life. It is nicknamed chicken crack for a reason. —Nick Kindelsperger

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Lao Sze Chuan, 2172 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616 (map); 312-326-5040; laoszechuan.com

Pickle Tots at Trenchermen
Pickle Tots at Trenchermen

Call me a cheater or a cop-out, but the pickle tots ($11) from Trencherman is actually served with chicken—chicken breast bresaola to be exact. If you haven't had this dish, it's the perfect balance of flavors. The tots themselves sing, but the tart red onion yogurt, scallions and—of course—the chicken push it over the edge (in a good, 'it is almost like crack,'kind of way). —Huge Galdones

[Photograph: Huge Galdones]

Trenchermen, 2039 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-661-1540; trenchermen.com‎

Pollo a la Brasa at D'Candela ($10.25)
Pollo a la Brasa at D'Candela ($10.25)

D'Candela is one of the few places where I forgo all the very capable sides just so that I can physically shove more of the whole rotisserie chicken ($10.25) inside my body. It renders adjectives so insignificant; pebbles like moist, plump, and succulent just pling off the armor of this flavor juggernaut. Cooked solely over charcoal, the skin comes out a deep mahogany, glistening from within, like the juiciness is a surprise party just for you and all you have to do it knock. The flavors are big and full, with hints of sage, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic, yet frustratingly hard to pinpoint. I went here for the first time a few years back (after a trip to Peru) and quickly declared it the best chicken I've ever eaten. And not a thing has changed. —Josh Conley

[Photograph: Josh Conley]

D'Candela Restaurant, 4053 North Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618 (map); 773-478-0819

Buffalo Wings at Jake Melnicks Corner Tap
Buffalo Wings at Jake Melnicks Corner Tap

Wings were once the part of the chicken that got the least love. Small. Boney. More skin than meat, really. But then the city of Buffalo, New York changed all that. Now those vestigial appendages are downright revered by... well, me at least. And in Chicago, no place does them better than Jake's. (We proved as much.)The bright, buttery, vinegary, red-orange Buffalo sauce that coats the wings at Jake's is one of those flavors I could enjoy every day. And the wings themselves are juicy and deeply flavorful. You go, Buffalo. —Roger Kamholz

[Photograph: Roger Kamholz]

Jake Melnicks Corner Tap‎, 41 East Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60611 (map); 312-266-0400; jakemelnicks.com

Fried Chicken at Mini-Hut
Fried Chicken at Mini-Hut

Wait, there's such thing as chicken that ISN'T fried? When you ask me about my favorite chicken in any form, my one-track mind is going to go straight to fried chicken. And the first thing I think of is Mini-Hut down in Garfield Ridge, right by Midway Airport. I can't help it. It's beautifully juicy, crispy, slightly buttery, with an unapologetic sheen of oil just on top, and it's just so damn cheap! Oh man, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Go. Go now! —Dennis Lee

[Photograph: Dennis Lee]

Mini Hut, 6659 West Archer Avenue, Chicago, IL (map); 773-586-2115

Fried Chicken at Harold's Chicken Shack in Wicker Park
Fried Chicken at Harold's Chicken Shack in Wicker Park

This month's pick has me realizing that I don't really order chicken when I go out. But when I do, it's undoubtably from Harold's Chicken Shack in Wicker Park. I've waxed poetic about their fish, but the rest of the year I'm more than content picking up a 16 piece mixed bucket (and since Harold's sides are best left unordered, I swing through the Popeye's drive-through to fill in the gaps). I know others have strong opinions about better fried chicken options out there, but for my money, it doesn't get much better than tearing pieces off the bone and dipping them into the vinegary hot sauce that accompanies every order. Bonus points for consistently serving chicken breast that is never dry. —Joe Roy

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Harold's Chicken Shack, Wicker Park Location, 1361 N Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-252-2424

Seoul Sassy Fried Chicken at Crisp
Seoul Sassy Fried Chicken at Crisp

When we were first asked this question, I immediately thought of the Roasted Chicken for Two at Gemini Bistro, but a quick menu search left me heartbroken: it seems Gemini no longer offers The Best Roasted Chicken in the World. So second place wholeheartedly goes to the Seoul Sassy Fried Chicken at Crisp, which features the most deliciously sticky BBQ sauce I've ever had. This is the kind of sauce you even lick off the back of your hand or your elbow or your companion's elbow. It's probably worth noting you shouldn't go here on a first date. —Lindsey Becker

[Photograph: Roger Kamholz]

Crisp‎, 2940 North Broadway Street, Chicago, IL 60657 (map); 773-697-7610; crisponline.com‎

The Smoked Fried Chicken at Lillie's Q
The Smoked Fried Chicken at Lillie's Q

The Smoked Fried Chicken is one of my favorite chicken dishes in the city, hands down. It has the perfect crunch, and underneath the breading is a perfect, moist piece of chicken. It's as smoky and as crisp as can be. The chicken is served with Tupelo honey, which completes the flavor. —Carol Hilker

Lillie's Q‎, 1856 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-772-5500; lilliesq.com