Since September is National Chicken Month, this is the best time to write about some of my favorite options in town.
For as long as I have lived in San Pedro, Slavko’s (1224 S. Pacific Avenue) has been my favorite place because of their chicken and the warm hospitality of the owners. The chicken nuggets are impeccably moist and delicious because they are prepared in-house with breast meat and a well-seasoned batter. The bone-in chicken pieces have a crunchy skin and tender meat.
The secret to the consistently moist chicken is the cooking technique called broasting, which starts with a quick open lid deep-frying, then is finished off closed lid at high pressure. This technique ensures that the batter sticks to the chicken while delivering a product that is crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. The potato nuggets (my favorite side order) are cooked in the same manner, then finished off with a toss in seasoned salt. Having a dipping condiment is a must, in particular, the house-made honey mustard sauce. A visit for me is not complete without an order of jalapeño poppers, which are the best in town because they are not overcooked and don’t fall apart in the frying process.
Bird Talk (29505 S. Western Avenue) opened its doors not too long before the beginning of the pandemic. Their menu is small and chicken-centered. My favorite items are the sandwiches, specifically the original and the hot Nashville. Each sandwich is served with a crisp yet moist-on-the-inside fried chicken breast. The original is served in a soft bun topped with coleslaw, pickles, and a tangy buttermilk ranch sauce. The hot Nashville can be ordered mild, medium, or hot. I like mine hot.
The chicken breast is coated with a Nashville-style rub, which acquires its heat from a combination of cayenne pepper and paprika, then dipped in equally spicy oil. The house special bird sauce, a bit spicy yet flavorful, makes the sandwich even more delicious. To contrast all the spiciness, the combination of the bun, pickle, and coleslaw provides a cooling effect. Although I am a die-hard fries fan, my favorite side order is the fried pickles. Since they are lightly battered, their tanginess is not overpowered by a doughy mix. Tater tots are also a good side dish, in particular, when dipped in bird sauce.
If you need a “healthier” alternative, then head to South Shores for the next couple of choices.
Shore Grille (1637 W. 25th Street) also opened its doors just before the pandemic. As a club sandwich fan, I have to confess that their version has ruined the classic cold cuts type for me. Their grilled chicken club sandwich is loaded, messy, juicy, and gourmet. A perfectly grilled chicken breast is topped with bacon strips and melted cheddar cheese. Stacked in the middle of a soft brioche bun are tomato, avocado, onion, and — behold — butter lettuce! The pièce de résistance, which in my opinion makes this sandwich luxurious, is the tarragon aioli sauce. Sandwiches are served with a pickle and a side; I always opt for the waffle fries because nothing else best matches this gourmet sandwich.
It can be tricky to pick a chicken salad in this town since there are a few cult-favorite places. I like to switch things up. I like Pronto’s Fresh Mexican Grill (2420 S. Western Avenue) for their fiesta tostada salad. It’s served in a tortilla shell layered with refried beans and lettuce, then topped with shredded cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo. The last three toppings serve as dressing. The long chicken strips are well seasoned and tasty. This salad lives up to its name, as it’s definitely a party for the taste buds. spt