Whether grilled, smoked, fried or plain, chicken has been making a comeback in a big way. A familiar item on menus of all cuisine types, the original white meat has earned a reputation as the safe (if a bit boring) bet over the years -- the steady choice when nothing else seems appealing and no adventuresome entree will do. But recently, a variety of classic chicken dishes have been revived, reimagined and revamped in restaurants across the country, making this farm-to-table staple the comeback protein of 2016.
Regarded as the most popular of poultries, a record of people eating chicken can be traced all the way back to Babylonian carvings from around 600 BC. Since then, we've come up with countless ways to make chicken even more delicious. Far from being ordinary, chickens come in all breeds, shapes and sizes, and chefs from coast to coast are proving that the old birds just get better with age. Here are 19 places to find delicious chicken dishes.
A classic dish to drool over, the Roasted Chicken at The Larchmont in LA gets better with every tender, juicy bite. Add a glass of white wine and this meal will have you in heaven.
Crispy double-fried wings -- nicknamed "kfc" for "Korean fried chicken" -- hit the spot at Southgate in Philadelphia. Choose from soy garlic or spicy gochujang sauce (a savory, fermented Korean condiment), grab a few extra napkins and dig in at this Asian-inspired gastropub.
New York's Le Turtle dishes out a healthy portion (make that an entire bird) of steamy, delicious Sasso chicken (a breed that's fattier and firmer than most). A 5-day preparation process involves brining, drying, steaming and whole-roasting until the masterpiece is finally delivered tableside on a bed of smoking embers and served with rutabaga and chicory-pumpkin vinaigrette.
At refined Thai eatery Lers Ros in San Francisco, the Som Tom Koong Yang -- shredded green papaya salad with chili, tomatoes, lime-based salad dressing and grilled prawns -- is made all the better with the addition of juicy, marinated chicken wings on the side.
The Chef's Counter at SOUTH in Philadelphia crafts upscale Southern fare, like their Wood Grilled Chicken made with lima bean puree, Sea Island succotash, house-made Tasso ham and pearl onions -- perfect alongside many of their great whiskeys.
At Tuome in NYC, French techniques meet Asian-inspired contemporary American fare in a range of unique dishes, including Chicken Liver mousse, served with New York maple and milk bread.
Don't let the name fool you, The Fat Ham in Philly knows how to dish out chicken. Swing by this Southern-inspired favorite for some Hot Chicken -- a favorite of Chef Kevin Sbraga's -- on brioche with ranch dressing and dill pickles.
A whole lot of a good thing can be a great thing at A-Frame in LA. Every Sunday from 5-10pm, enjoy an all-you-can-eat feast of Cracklin Beer Can Chicken, Mochiko Chicken and Korean Chicken Wings with plenty of tasty sides like corn on the cob, salad, fries and Hawaiian rolls.
Specializing in wood-fired fare with inspiration from Mexico, Peru and the Middle East, La Brasa in Boston crafts a savory Wood Roasted ½ Chicken made with jerk seasoning (a mix of allspice, Scotch bonnet peppers and other spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, garlic, thyme and ginger), fingerling potatoes and chicken broth.
Smoke.oil.salt is a Spanish restaurant and wine bar featuring authentic dishes for sharing, including a Pollo Frito (Spanish for "fried chicken") made with crispy chicken, Serrano ham and brava sauce (a spicy tomato sauce).
Momofuku Noodle Bar, David Chang's Asian-fusion destination in NYC, offers a Fried Chicken meal that serves 4-8 people and includes two whole fried chickens, one Southern style and one Korean style. The family-sized portion comes with mu shu pancakes, baby carrots, red ball radishes, Bibb lettuce, four sauces and an herb basket.
From Chef Sarah Simmons, Southern comfort food comes to vibrant life at Birds & Bubbles in NYC. Order a basket of Buttermilk Chicken, made with fresh Amish chickens from Pennsylvania that have been marinated for 48 hours and are best enjoyed with champagne or a bottle of rosé.
A New American eatery in Philadelphia, Vernick Food & Drink does chicken right with their Organic Amish Chicken, served whole or by the half and made with lemon and herb jus.
Offering an Italian dining experience with a farm-to-table approach, La Storia Ristorante dishes out Pollo Milanese with crispy chicken, chicken liver mousse, crispy capers, watercress and citrus in a welcoming dining room with an old-school vibe.
Inspired by Eastern Mediterranean flavors, Chef/Owner Ana Sortun serves a Lemon Chicken, Za'atar with a Turkish Cheese Pancake. Sink into the cozy ambience, complete with Turkish carpets lining the walls and an outdoor garden patio.
Order up the Chongqing Chicken Wings at Mission Chinese Food in NYC, prepared with crispy beef tripe, bold chili and Xinjiang spices. The bold dish is the perfect showcase of Chef Danny Bowien's fiery, creative takes on whimsical American Chinese cuisine.
Currently serving a Spicy Half Chicken with Thumbelina carrots and marble potatoes, Travelle Kitchen + Bar is a sophisticated lounge and restaurant in the Langham Hotel offering a seasonal American menu and stunning river views.
At chic, Asian-inspired DanDan in Philadelphia, try the Salt & White Pepper Crispy Chicken off their extensive menu of Taiwanese specialties, including noodle dishes, vegetarian stir-fries and more.
Enough to feed two, the chicken at California-inspired Moroccan spot Mourad is flavored with preserved lemon, green olive and marash (a pepper native to Turkey).