Oh pan fried chicken. You have robbed my heart. I may never ever be able to eat any other fried chicken. Ever.
You hear myths of the perfect fried chicken: crispy crunch on the outside and a moist, flavorful inside. The high heat of the frying oil is meant to crisp up the batter immersed skin and create that infamous moisture barrier. This barrier is meant to lock in the chicken’s natural juices and moisture, intensifying the flavors inside. The steam build up inside the chicken then pressurized the insides, tenderizing the meat. The pressure also keeps the frying fat from crossing the moisture barrier: yielding some amazing flavorful but non-greasy fried chicken.
How many of us can actually get perfect fried chicken? Precious few. Charles does though. Oh and he does it so good.
We walked into Charles’ right around sunset. Inside, there are a total of 4 tables. The door is left open to allow some ventilation and let the frying heat out. Because the frying is happening in the background right behind the buffet pans across the counter.
You can either order a specific entree with two sides and a cornbread, or you can vote for the all you can eat option. We decided against the all you can eat only because the servings were already so huge that it seemed unlikely that we’d be able to return for more.
I had sides of the mac and cheese, and creamed corn. Everything was very well seasoned and flavorful. The mac and cheese was a casserole style, though I’m partial to the more creamy variety myself. The creamed corn was sweet and a pretty unexpectedly good accompaniment to the fried chicken. Oh and the cornbread: crumbly golden goodness with just a thin crisp of cornbread crust. Moist but not dense. My friend opted for the collard greens alongside the mac and cheese: some really savory, slow cooked green goodness.
I won’t even try to describe the chicken. Suffice it to say that once you have tasted fried chicken perfection, you know there’s no turning back. And perfection this was. Midway into my second bite of sheer heavenly bliss, I abandoned the fork and knife and picked up the chicken legs with my fingers. Finger licking, lip smacking, stick to your ribs awesomeness, nestled into a flour crusted crispy chicken. And not a drop of grease a-dripping anywhere.
Though their lemonade has been touted to be over sweet, I must admit that I personally don’t agree. I think it’s a lovely drink that goes oh so well with fried chicken.
Sated, we strolled back to the subway, content but a bit sad at the end of such an amazing evening full of great eats and fun times.
Charles’ was a reaffirmation of faith in the myth of the arts of frying and that perfection in pan fried chicken does exist, just like perfection may so easily reside in so many other most random stages and instance of life!