Sidecar Unveils Secret to Its Signature Fried Chicken

By Heather Holland on January 23, 2013 9:02am 

PARK SLOPE — It took a lot of trial and error to get Sidecar’s signature fried chicken recipe just right, and now it’s the most popular item on the menu.

John Decoursy, the 43-year-old chef and co-owner of Sidecar, spent years perfecting the recipe for its buttermilk fried chicken and now it’s the most popular dish on the menu, he said.

“I tried to come up with a perfect recipe to have a crunchy, flavorful fried chicken without drying out the meat,” said Decoursy. “We literally cut it down to the very second and we try to cook with a lower temperature.

It takes more time, but customers usually don’t mind the wait because they know that perfection takes time.”

The menu at Sidecar serves market-driven cuisine with influences from Decoursy’s classic French training and from his Southern roots.

Most of the dishes center around a primary protein such as poultry, grass-fed burgers and steak, which are served with seasonal veggies, said Decoursy.

“The menu includes things that you’re familiar with, but it’s all done well,” said Decoursy.

To make the buttermilk fried chicken, the chef begins by brining the chicken, which is sourced from Bell and Evans, a farm based in Pennsylvania.

The chicken is then taken out of the simple brine and marinated in buttermilk. From the buttermilk, the chef rolls each piece of chicken into a secret mixture of flour and spices.

Once the chicken is fully coated, he puts the pieces into the fryer for about 14 minutes. Next, he lets the chicken rest for a few minutes on a mesh-wire pan so that it can get extra crispy, said the chef.

“Another big important thing about this fried chicken or any protein in general is that you’ve really got to let it rest,” said Decoursy. “When you drop it into the hot oil, all the juices kind of go to the center.

“When you let it rest, what’s basically happening is that it’s redistributing that moisture again…So that when it gets to the table it’s got a nice crispy outside.”

At Sidecar, the fried chicken is served with a side of sautéed kale and mashed potatoes. The dish comes with three pieces of chicken and is priced at $19.

“I’ve obsessed about [this recipe] for a long long time,” said Decoursy. “It’s one of my favorite things in the world.”

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