Battle of the Dishes

Kentucky Fried Quail Conundrum: The Praying Monk vs Blue Hound Kitchen

When we saw Kentucky Fried Quail pop up on the menu at Aaron May's newest venture, Praying Monk, we were intrigued and pretty excited to try one of these little birds covered in batter and deep fried. Come on -- deep fried quail?! It sounds great!

And then we saw the same dish make an appearance on Blue Hound Kitchen's menu. Hmmm, really? As good as it sounds, do we need two plates of Kentucky Fried Quail in this city?

The answer is yes. It's fried and tasty and not chicken. And, of course, we decided we had to put them up against each other (because that's what we do, duh).

Read on to see which new restaurant has the lock down on this unique dish. To up the ante, we've include the sides that accompany the little bird -- so for this one, we're judging the entire dish.

In This Corner: Praying Monk Restaurant & Bar

The Set Up: Aaron May's newest restaurant creation is a quaint space filled with reclaimed wood, tufted leather booths, industrial chairs, sparkling Edison bulbs, and a sleek concrete bar. The barn-like atmosphere is super relaxed with friendly, down to earth servers in jeans and t-shirts, minimal art work, and indie beats on the stereo. The menu is made up of classic American comfort food with a few unique dishes mixed in like crispy pig ears (delicious), Foie Gras PB & J, and Kentucky Fried Quail served picnic style with a Brussels sprout slaw and blue cheese potato salad.

The Good: The little bird legs were fried to a perfect (like perfect, perfect) crisp. The flaky fried batted was lightly seasoned and coated the juicy dark meat pieces right down to their little quail ankles. The cool potato salad with big chunks of tender red potatoes, blue cheese chunks and specks of chive add a nice tang to the dish and kept it light and summery.

The Bad: What's up with the Brussel sprout slaw? I get that it's picnic-y, which ties the dish together -- and Brussels sprouts are like tiny cabbages so it kinda makes sense to turn the little guys into slaw, but Brussels sprouts are loved by very few people and are just a bit too bitter to make a slaw. Needless to say, I ended up picking out all of the potato chunks out from under the shredded slaw and I think If I ordered this dish again, I would 86 the slaw altogether.

In The Other Corner: Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

The Set Up: Located on the second floor of the brand new Palomar Hotel at CityScape, Blue Hound is also filled with industrial-looking wood walls, tufted leather booths, a sleek concrete bar, bright Edison bulbs, and a friendly wait staff dressed in jeans and denim shirts. The laid back atmosphere is casual but still maintains a classy feel and the high windows provide a nice view of the rest of CityScape.

Blue Hound's menu is full of American comfort classics like patty melt sliders, bacon filled tater tots, batter fried baby zucchini, heirloom tomato salads, and Executive Chef Stephen Jones' version of Kentucky Fried Quail served southern style with foie gras cornbread and a red bean and sausage gravy.

The Good: Once again, these little pieces of fried dark meat quail were fried to perfection and had a super flavorful crispy coating with just a little bit of a southern kick. Our server mentioned something about the recipe coming straight from the original KFC recipe and it was impeccably close. The sausage gravy had just the right touch of black pepper and was the perfect complement to the sweet cornbread underneath.

The Bad: The foie gras in the cornbread was undetectable and it was a little dry but nothing an extra scoop of that sinfully good gravy couldn't fix!

And the winner is...

Blue Hound takes the gold with their bold seasonings and savory red bean and sausage gravy. We could eat that stuff straight out of a bowl. Praying Monk's dish was really great and we loved the gorgeous space and outstanding staff but that Brussels sprout slaw has got to go!

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Shannon Armour
Contact: Shannon Armour