Premium Kettle Chicken Sandwich at Honey's Kettle ($7.50)
The Premium Kettle Chicken is already a winner with perfectly juicy chicken blanketed by mounds of moist but still crisp breading, and topped with sweet pickle relish, tangy special sauce, and melted cheese, but it is the final bite that puts it over the top. An excess of crunchy batter spills out of the soft squishy sesame bun, forming a little tail of pure unadulterated fried pleasure. It is a crackling good end to an already eminently satisfying sandwich.
Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich at Street ($13)
Street's Korean spin on the fried chicken sandwich is an explosion of flavors and textures barely contained by the sweet, buttery puff of a brioche bun. The tender morsels of chicken are bathed in a light, extra-crisp nori batter and then topped with a mound of crunchy, pungent kimchi slaw and a healthy spread of piquant gochujang mayo. Be warned before you develop an addiction to this chicken, it's only available for Sunday brunch.
Fried Chicken Sandwich at Son of a Gun ($11)
Looking around Son of a Gun, you would be hard-pressed to find a table that isn't digging into one of these enormous fried chicken behemoths. And one really is the right number for two, three, or even four diners. A sandwich this big, rich, and overwhelmingly delicious is meant to be shared. The buttery brioche bun all but melts into the Chick-fil-A-style breaded chicken, which in turn soaks up the sweet, creamy Sriracha aioli. Just when you start to feel a little woozy from the richness of it all, there is a hit of spicy bread and butter pickle slaw, priming you for another bite of what may currently be the most buzzed about restaurant in town.
Organic Chicken Wienerschnitzel at Food + Lab ($9.50)
The daintiest sandwich on the list. The light breading on the thin-pounded chicken has a nice flaky crumb, which is balanced by the moist tang of lingonberry chutney and a spread of aioli. The grilled ciabatta provides a tidy package for the dignified sandwich while adding a needed textural kick of crunch.
Fried Chicken Sandwich at Canelé ($13.50)
For those who prefer the lunch-leaning side of the brunch menu, there are few better options in this city than Canelé's fried chicken sandwich. Each half of the toasted brioche bun hosts a tender buttermilk fried chicken thigh, the batter sweet with a little spicy Tabasco kick. Dressed simply with a spread of mayo, crunchy pickled green tomato, and thin slices of red onion, it proves that the most straightforward sandwich, when well prepared, can also be the most seriously delicious.
Fried Chix at Simplethings Sandwich & Pie Shop ($9)
Some of the proportions are a bit off in the Fried Chix. As good as the satisfyingly squishy, chewy onion focaccia is, there's a little too much of it. The Tabasco mayo could use a tad more kick. But we're willing to forgive those miscalculations because the sandwich nails the most important ratio—the perfect balance of moist, tender chicken to plenty of crackly, savory breading.
Crispy Chicken Sandwich at LudoTruck ($7.50)
Thin strips of buttermilk battered fried white meat on a long, sweet pain de mie bun and topped with a creamy béarnaise sauce and savoy slaw. It's basically a fancy-pants chicken finger sandwich, and hey, what's not to like about that?
Moving target; 213-973-8839; mobimunch.com/ludotruck
Santa Fe Crispy Chickin' at Veggie Grill ($8.95)
Okay. So it's "chickin'" not chicken, but to prove the worthiness of Veggie Grill's vegetarian homage to the fried chicken sandwich, we tested it on a meat-substitute-shy friend. And he was pretty pleased with the combination of lightly breaded "meat", spicy red onion salsa, avocado, and vegan special sauce, all piled on a surprisingly flavorful toasted whole-wheat bun. So pleased was he, in fact, that he was a good four bites into the sandwich before he realized that the he was happily chowing down on a soy protein patty.