Zankou has some competition on my list of addictions for the best crack chicken in L.A. ever: Honey’s Kettle. I’ve wanted to try this ever since I read all the online reviews claiming that Honey’s must put crack in their batter because their fried chicken and their biscuits keep you coming back for more. But then a lot of other reviews complained about slooowww service and rude staff, warning would-be customers to avoid lunchtime because the mix of the rush from Sony Studios and the slow service would make for a stressfully long lunch hour.
But anticipating all that, I was able to head over to Culver City for an early lunch. Easily finding street parking at a meter, I rolled into Honey’s, located next to my fave Culver City bar, Ford’s Filling Station. At 11:15, there was no crowd of Sony Studio employees, no lunch rush. Just some guys sitting at the outdoor seats in front of the eatery.
Walking up to the cash register, I braced myself for the sting of rude service. Instead, I was just ignored for a bit while the two Honey’s Kettle employees stood at the cash register trying to replace the register tape. They didn’t look up to acknowledge me for several minutes but, again, I kinda expected something worse so wasn’t too bothered by that. Finally the guy took my order, all without a smile and very quietly. I guess that’s fine if you’re sick of forced witty banter of customer service but a little warmth would have been nice, especially in a place that calls itself a “new, old-fashioned company.”
I ordered up the two-piece meal with two chicken breasts, kettle fries, biscuit and sweet pickles ($7.59). After waiting about 10 minutes in the still empty restaurant, my order was up. I took it outside to sit and enjoy the sidewalk seating since there wasn’t much to look at indoors, just empty seats and the sterile feel of a chain restaurant (even though Honey’s isn’t a chain).
The first thing I tore into was, of course, the fried chicken.
Eyes-rolling-up-back-into-your-head yummy! The crispy skin was thick and crunchy but not crunchy hard. The chicken meat itself was tender and melt-in-your-mouth savory, not greasy. With two chicken breasts large in size, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to finish everything.
They use deep kettle drums that allow for extremely high temperature cooking. This tenderizes the chicken while trapping in the natural juices. It also creates a crackling shell stays crispy over time as well as allowing the chicken to retain its heat.
Next came the much-talked-about biscuit. It was so buttery as if dipped in butter. Things got extra yummy when I drizzled some Honey’s honey all over it. I kinda wished that they gave me two biscuits instead of just the one. But those who can’t get enough can get an extra biscuit for 69 cents or even a dozen for $6.95. Go for it, I say.
The kettle fries, fresh and piping hot out of the fryer, were perfectly seasoned with some spices other than your usual salty goodness. But I have to say that the biscuits were my absolute favorite.
I had initially toyed with the idea of trying out one of their individual-sized “warm pies” but knew that I wouldn’t have any room in my stomach for it afterward. So instead I just took a pecan pie ($2.25) to go.
Unfortunately it wasn’t that tasty when I had it later as an afternoon snack. The crust was flavorless. You’d think since they make their biscuits so extra-buttery that some of that flavorfulness would be used on the crust, too. But nope. Pity. However, I still want to try their other flavors: sweet potato, peach and apple. All sound too good to pass up.
Like its legions of other crackheads, I’ll definitely be back for more fried chicken. With large meal options, a party pack ($31.95) of 16 pieces, 8 biscuits, 2 pints of salad, 2 orders of kettle fries and a large cup of honey sounds like the perfect way to pay all my friends for helping me move into my new apartment this weekend.
9537 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, California 90232