Restaurateur Adam Fleischman is once again enlightening us all. The creative mind behind Umami Burger and 800 Degrees Pizzeria has a new concept in Downtown called ChocoChicken.
Campus Circle ventured to DTLA to check out this new eatery located at Grand Avenue and 12th Street, not too far from STAPLES Center. As with the original Umami Burger location on La Brea, Fleischman took over the recently closed Corkbar Wine Bar, made interior design changes and re-launched it as ChocoChicken. Flat screen TVs, smooth metal surfaces, high ceilings and an attention-grabbing main bar adorn the restaurant’s interior.
ChocoChicken’s fare is unique and unlike anything many of us have experienced before. The main item on its menu is, of course, fried chicken. However, this is not the fried chicken you would find at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles—this fried chicken’s batter is infused with chocolate. Before the frying, the chicken (free-range Jidori poultry) is steeped in a marinade with chocolate for at least 12 hours. Then, the chicken is dredged in flour sifted with chocolate until it's finally patted down with a rub that includes 17 spices. The end result is a delicious flavor and taste that will leave you yearning for more.
Fleischman and his partners—self-taught chef Keith Previte (who developed the idea and brought it to Fleischman) and film producer Sean Robins (who conceptualized the chocolate fried chicken concept on a road trip to the Bay Area)—use chocolate in practically everything on the menu. The fried chicken recipe uses a 62 percent bittersweet chocolate from Coco Suisse, a Swiss chocolate company located in Beverly Hills.
The menu also includes combination plates where you can get dark meat (two thighs) with two sides. Or, your combination plate can include dark and white meat. That option is called the “Crack Combo,” and it’s definitely “wacked.” We highly recommend getting breast meat as opposed to the more traditionally fried, flavorful dark meat. It should also be noted that the chicken is boneless.
For your two sides we recommend the biscuit and the green house salad, which is served with a miso ranch dressing. You can also get a side of creamy coleslaw, corn on the cob or white chocolate mashed potatoes.
The buzz around town already is to get the caramelized bacon biscuit, but we went with the butter biscuit instead, a square-shaped biscuit with a flaky top and moist center. The biscuit itself doesn’t blow you away like the kind served at Quality on 3rd Street. However, when you dip it in the Bee Sting sauce (a honey/spicy concoction), it will stack up with any biscuit in town.
The duck fat fries dusted with a "choco" seasoning are also recommended. And, since a fry is not complete without ketchup, ChocoChicken provides a ketchup infused with—you guessed it—chocolate!
The rumor is ChocoChicken will be coming to Santa Monica. In the meantime, head to DTLA and experience Fleischman’s brilliance, Robins' vision and Previte’s skills in the kitchen.
ChocoChicken is located at 403 W. 12th Street in Los Angeles, 90015. Hours are Sunday through Wednesday, from 11a.m. to 11 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
For more information, call 213.403.1786 or visit chocochicken.com.