Digging into the cluckin' awesome world of our favorite fried food.
2014 looks to be the year of fried chicken brunch, based solely on my two most recent brunch outings. But hey, that's 100% of my brunch outings this year so far, and I like where this is going. Last week it was fried chicken and French toast and honey butter chicken'wiches, this week it's chicken and biscuits, as Parson's Chicken & Fish joins the brunch fray. Considering their ampersand sister, Longman & Eagle, does a killer brunch on the daily, I had high expectations for this one.
Nothing satisfies my desperate need for comfort food on a blisteringly cold winter day like chicken & biscuits ($12). The requisite item on Parson's brunch menu is simple, straightforward, and handily executed, with fried chicken thigh splayed next to a rich, cakey housemade biscuit. Parson's chicken is the most crackly chicken I've tasted. The crust is absolutely insane; nice and dark, and crunchier than a pane of stained glass. The chicken at Parson's is most notable for the crust, though the innards are sufficiently succulent as well. It's bedecked appropriately with a runny egg, melting down into the crispy crevices of the poultry along with some orange honey and lemon aïoli, providing a welcome splash of citrusy tang to level out the heinous richness of the dish.
The best antidote to wintry doldrums and casual frostbite is a big bowl of pozole rojo ($10), which gets brunchified with a poached egg, making this spicy soup an ideal adversary for seasonal woes. This luscious red medley is positively brimming with tender morsels of pork, interspersed with red chiles, pickled cabbage, and hominy. Shards of tortillas lose their crispy integrity immersed in soup, but lend a pleasant corny, salty quality, while crème fraîche serves to mellow out the piquant hodgepodge. It's finished with a poached egg, placed right on top of the pozole like some sort of Mexican egg drop soup.
The only thing left to do is suck down a bracing Bloody Mary ($8). Made with vodka, house sangrita, tomato juice, lemon juice, and pickle juice, this juicy quencher is pleasantly pungent, with a lingering spice that permeates your throat for an inordinate amount of time.
Brunch at Parson's could not have come at a better time. As Chicago endures one of the most savage winters in recent memory, the sunny environment and vibrant comfort food at this Logan Square haunt are just the distraction we need.