Something strange: I tend to think of the strips around colleges as dead zones for decent food.
But: new fried chicken place on Le Conte, across from UCLA: BBQ Chicken. It's just to the west of Westwood. Right south of the medical stuff.
I walked in, hungry but not particularly hopeful. I mean, you're across the street from a college campus. This worries me. ... But it smelled good. And there's sign that says: "your chicken will take 10-15 minutes as it's fried to order." And I was like, "Hey, these people are Korean maybe. I think this is Korean-run!" And, you know, Korean fried chicken...
Their schtick is: the stuff is fried in olive oil. Supposedly for health. They explain, very eagerly, to anybody that asks, that "BBQ" stands not for "barbecue", but "best of best quality." I almost chocked on my chicken when she told this to somebody ordering. It's.... so... *precious*...
Chicken comes either plain, or in spicy sauce. I had plain, curious about the impact of olive oil.
Anyway: the chicken is... well, I don't know how I feel about the chicken. I'd actually really like other people to go here and tell me what they think of the chicken. On the one hand, it's really freshly fried, with some skill. It comes out super fresh, the crispiness is exact, nailed, super juicy, etc. etc.
On the other hand: well, for one, they seem to be aiming at precisely the KFC aesthetic. They're way better, of course, but it's that precise type of batter, and that precise ratio of batter to chicken moistness, and even the spicing range. I'm largely OK with this, but, it's almost eerily so.
More than that: the olive oil frying... is... well, it supplies a particular kind of unguency and a particular oiliness... it's not that it's *too* oily or greasy, it's just this particular texture to olive oil... well, it's weird. I actually don't know how I feel about it. I'm trapped between liking and weirded out. It's distinctively olive-oil tasting, too. The balance is... odd. This is one of the few things I've tasted that I'm very suspended between liking and confused. I think I might like it. I don't know.
On the other hand, it's actually clearly a place run by people who give a crap, and take some care and pride in what they do, which puts it about four miles past almost everything else in Westwood Village.
Second opinions, please?
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