Sunday, January 29, 2017

Off the Map: Conquering the South, One Fried Chicken at a Time

World Famous Fried Chicken -- Gus's Fried Chicken, Southaven, MS
Gus's Fried Chicken

"That was really good. Gus better work." And with that, said while leaving Uncle Lou's Southern Kitchen, Vodka and her friends have laid down the gauntlet on our next fried chicken stop of the day.
Time to Raise the Roof, Gus
In truth, Gus's Fried Chicken is more of a Memphis institution, but since none of us have ever been to Mississippi, we've decided to cross the border in order to go to the franchise in Southaven
Mississippi: The State We've Known How to Spell the Longest
When we pull up, we expect another "shack"-type joint -- the kind we've become accustomed to when it comes to ordering hunks of meat by the pound. Instead, we find a sit-down restaurant with actual table service -- albeit one that serves their meals on paper plates and their beverages in styrofoam cups.
Clearly, the EPA Hasn't Made It to Southaven Yet
We order three pieces of the Hot and Spicy World Famous Fried Chicken, as chosen by Claire Robinson on the FRIED CHICKEN episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate. We choose three fried chicken breasts, and once again, we are heartened by our waitress's kind reaction to us essentially declaring, "We'll have water and one entree."
Southern Charm at Its Finest
Our platter arrives with additional plates to spare, and Vodka is feeling tentative after her first encounter with "hot chicken" in Nashville (which nearly set her head on fire). 
Dear Chicken, Please Don't Kill Us
Thankfully, Gus's variety is much more mild, and also much less messy than Uncle Lou's. More of a classic fried chicken variety, the skin is extremely crisp and crunchy, while the meat inside remains perfectly moist. 
Still Life of Chicken Meat
The spices are subtle without being overwhelming, and whenever they start to become too hot for our tastes, the provided cole slaw gives the perfect antidote. 
Never Quite Understood the Penchant for Including a Solitary Piece of White Bread with Southern Cuisine
In the end, we decide that we have to rate Gus's identically to Uncle Lou's -- it is very, very good fried chicken, but it doesn't reach quite that 5 star level to set it apart.
A Stellar First Taste of Mississippi Living
All of that said, however, being that we have collectively already eaten multiple chickens today, we must give credit where credit is due. Because we did, after all, gnaw all of our respective chickens down to the bone.  

Gus's Fried Chicken's World Famous Fried Chicken: 4 stars

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