I’m starting to appreciate the art of standing in line. There’s something special about being forced to wait patiently for your turn. It brings a sense of comradery with those that are there with you, all standing with the same purpose. This particular purpose was 3 types of fried chicken at Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills.
The LA Times hosted the LA Food Bowl this last May, featuring a multitude of culinary talent from Southern California, and I was fortunate to participate on the last day. The initial draw was Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc Buttermilk Fried Chicken, but as I read further about this event, I realized that both Jon Shook from Farmshop and Vinny Dotolo from Son of A Gun would also be there serving their signature fried chicken dishes. It’s really hard to say no to fried chicken.
Bouchon Bistro is located in the heart of Beverly Hills, so parking is a nightmare. I think valet parking was somewhere around $8, so if you plan on going there for their Ad Hoc Fried Chicken on Monday nights, I highly recommend you let valet take care of your car. When I finally emerged from the parking structure, there was already a line down their courtyard and it was starting to gather down the block.
We finally made it upstairs, but the line didn’t stop there. The event started at 7pm and was open until 10pm; which included 3 types of fried chicken, open bar for wine and beer, dessert, and a tour of the kitchen. Once you got your wristband, you were free to wander. It was a little bit of a squeeze to make your way around, but what better way to meet new people?
Our first line was Vinny Dotolo’s Chicken sandwiches, which were served out on the patio. At first glance, it looked a little overwhelming. The sandwich is stacked high with an ample serving of slaw, which was a great balance for the crispy fried chicken.
The longer line was for Jon Shook’s Jidori fried chicken and Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk fried chicken. This line took you to the back of house where you picked up your fried chicken in the kitchen. Both chefs were present, greeting you as you walked by. Jon Shook’s chicken was plated with an option for grilled asparagus and or garlic string beans. Thomas Keller’s fried chicken was served with a side of fries in a bucket.
The challenge was how you were going to leave the kitchen with everything you wanted to eat with only 2 hands. Luckily, I had a really crafty partner and we were able to divide and conquer.
We ended up eating at a back counter just outside the kitchen, which was a lot more fun than sitting down at a table. We got to experience the hustle and bustle that happens at the back of house while still having full view of the kitchen.
Things died down after 9:30pm but the bar was still open, so we did have a chance to sit down in the dining room to enjoy a few glasses of wine. It’s always a great evening when you get to meet fun new people while having the opportunity to catch up with good friends.
Hopefully the LA Food Bowl will do something fun again next year. But until then… I maybe I’ll get to meet you in my next line.