Fried chicken seems to be going through a bit of a renaissance in Orange County. What was once a place where you had to go to the Colonel for a chicken fix is now a burgeoning mecca for delicious and creative fowl. Buttermilk Fried Chicken has been open for a short time and follows a familiar formula: Focus on the chicken. For anyone who is familiar with the now closed 370 Common in Laguna Beach, This is the brain child of chef Ryan Adams. The menu is small with some choice Southern styles sides, otherwise it’s all about the chicken.
The Southern Samurai
I’ve tried several chicken restaurants over the past couple of months and it seems like they all use the same style bun. They all vary a bit, but you can usually count on them being really buttery.
I appreciate the batter at Buttermilk Fried Chicken, it’s crispy and not too heavy. A lot of restaurants do fry mix bulk orders which means there is plenty to go around and the burgers aren’t shy with the batter covering the chicken – just how I like it. It seems like a lot of places use a really thick batter and pack on the sauce, where I found the chicken in the Southern Samurai to be a little lighter. The flavor combination of chili oil, mint, and pickled vegetable balanced so nicely against the chilis and soy mayo. It’s almost as if they took inspiration from Vietnamese sandwiches and applied it to the Southern Samurai.
I really like Buttermilk Fried Chicken’s approach to saucing the Southern Samurai. Unlike a lot of places, they chose to keep the thick and heavy stuff off of this sandwich and opted for things that balanced flavors nicely. I couldn’t distinctly identify the soy mayo from the rest of the sandwich, which I consider a good thing; The chicken itself stands out quite nicely.
At $8.95 for a sandwich, Buttermilk’s prices are competitive with other chicken places in Orange County. The portions are also comparable, with their “combo” meal being a better deal than most. For an extra $2.50, you get a drink and choice of side (which also is a generous portion), making a meal there about $13. A damn good deal for the quality you’re getting.
Downtown Orange has been largely unexplored be me and Buttermilk Fried Chicken has shown me the error of my ways. I certainly plan on going back and trying the rest of the menu and what Orange has to offer. If you haven’t been around the Orange Circle, I urge you to go (try going during off hours, parking kind of sucks). I’m no expert on the food scene downtown, but if Buttermilk is any indication, then you’ll be in good hands (plus the area is beautiful).
[Click on thumbnail for Sample menu]
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
238 W Chapman Ave STE 100
Orange, CA 92866