Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rich Chicken, Poor Chicken

One of my favorite comfort foods, and probably one of yours, is roast chicken with potatoes. I've had two excellent versions lately, one at Spago in the Forum shops and one at Sedona in the Northwest.

Sedona is the only restaurant I've ever worked in and I wouldn't have gone back or recommended it until just recently because I didn't care for the old chef. My old sous chef took over a couple of months ago, however, and the food is now much better. The one dish that really stands out is the roast chicken on the lunch menu for $12. It is served on a bed of fingerling potatoes, fennel, and radicchio and is accompanied by a rosemary and worcestershire vinaigrette. The chicken is cooked 'sous vide' (in a bag) to keep it moist and juicy and then is either roasted at extremely high heat or pan-fried to give it a crackly skin. At $12 it is a bargain for what it is, especially because it also comes with soup or salad.

The roast chicken at Spago is slightly better only because the chicken is of a bit better quality and the potato puree under it rivals that of Joel Robuchon (read: lots and lots of butter). I am such a fan of Mr. Puck because of dishes like these. There's nothing pretentious about this chicken, just a great piece of bird with a perfect jus and veggies. At $21 it's about twice the price of the one at Sedona but it's worth every penny, especially since you also get a 20% discount for being local (limited time only).

I highly recommend either of these dishes when you next get a hankering for chicken that isn't boring.

Sedona Roast Chicken (above)
Spago Roast Chicken (left)
(below) A picture of another beautiful bird at Puck's Postrio in the Venetian. This was a special for mother's day this year.

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