The Grand Roasted Chicken Taste-Off

exilekiss's latest mad idea: finding the best roasted chicken in Los Angeles. From a list of 34 candidates, he and his friends narrowed the field to 20 finalists and systematically ate their way down the list, including all the standard favorite LA chains. But the winners are somewhat surprising.

In third place, says exilekiss, is a big surprise: Gjelina, the darling of Abbot Kinney. It's a roasted half Jidori Chicken for $24. The chicken breast is strikingly well-cooked: a touch overcooked, but luscious, with wonderful crisp skin. With the natural poultry, crisped skin, and clean, fresh salt and pepper flavors, you have the makings of a well-executed classic American roasted chicken, says exilekiss.

In second place is all-around fave Mélisse. The roasted chicken is only available as a $30 supplement to the $105 tasting menu. It's a rotisserie chicken, stuffed with summer truffles and served with sauce albufera (think velouté). The chicken breast, even unsauced, is utterly stunning, says exilekiss. "Imagine a sliver of soft, delicate, juicy meat that's *just* cooked-through." It is the single best chicken breast he's had anywhere, hands down.

After you eat the chicken breast, Mélisse does something unique: They take back the rest of the whole chicken and finish cooking it. The leg comes out beautifully, and the rest of the dark meat shows up as part of a chicken soup with summer truffles. "There's a deep, concentrated Chicken essence coming through with each sip. It's soul warming and perfect for the chilly evening," says exilekiss.

Warning: Mélisse is not consistent with this chicken. On one visit, exilekiss had chicken perfection. On another visit: slight overcooking.

In first place is Rustic Canyon's roasted half Jidori Chicken. You get the crackle of beautifully crisp skin with the ultra-juicy perfectly cooked breast. "The white meat is positively singing and bright and pure," says exilekiss. The leg and thigh are even more luscious and juicy, and the cherry on top is the variety of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers. On every visit, this chicken has come out consistently perfect, says exilekiss.

Gjelina [Westside - Beaches]
1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice
310-450-1429

Mélisse [Westside - Beaches]
1104 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica
310-395-0881

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar [Westside - Beaches]
1119 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica
310-393-7050

Discuss: Tender, Juicy and Crisp? Roast Chicken Battle - Melisse, Costco, Pollo Ala Brasa, Rustic Canyon, Zankou, A Frame, Gjelina, Marouch, Lola's, and more! [Review] w/ Pics!

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