There’s fried chicken, and then there’s fried chicken. Willie Mae’s Scotch House serves the latter.
You will find things like chicken-fried pork chops and some kind of veal on the menu, but that’s not why you came. You came to Willie Mae’s for the fried chicken, and you’re going to order:
- 3 pieces of fried chicken
- a side that comes with your order of fried chicken–your choice between green beans, red beans and rice, butter beans, french fries and a house salad (I recommend the savory butter beans)
- a 75-cent cornbread muffin
The fried chicken looks dark enough to call ‘burnt,’ but don’t be fooled. The melt-in-your-mouth layer of Willie Mae’s secret batter is ultra-thin, intended not only to add a crunch to each bite but also to seal in the juices that tenderize the white and dark meat inside. Each morsel falls off the bone not in a puddle of grease, but with a succulent flavor and texture.
The food comes as its ready, which means your cornbread muffins will come hot out of the oven and your chicken will still be dripping with crispy grease from the fryer. Just the way you like it.
To pay proper tribute to her life-changing experience at Willie Mae’s, my host and former roommate Chenault wrote a haiku:Chicken, baked no more! Crisp crunch tender tastebud joy FRIED. Thanks, Willie Mae!
Fortunately for the Treme neighborhood and Willie Mae, I am far from the first to discover this magical fried chicken wonderland. The Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain visited Willie Mae’s with the infamous Kermit Ruffins, a New Orleans Jazz legend.
While I’m a little jealous we didn’t share a meal with him, we were lucky enough to spot Kermit in person at The Joint, a favorite BBQ restaurant with legendary ribs, in the Bywater a few blocks from Vaughan’s bar where he plays every Thursday night.
Hope y’all had a happy Mardi Gras!
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