Serious Eats

First Look: Fried Chicken and Doughnuts at GBD, Washington DC

[Photographs: Brian Oh]

The Neighborhood Restaurant Group has been taunting Washingtonians with small morsels of fried chicken and doughnuts for years at Birch & Barley and ChurchKey. On Sundays you could grab Birch & Barley's fried chicken and waffles or doughnuts for brunch or head upstairs for ChurchKey's legendary fried chicken Luther. Or if you were lucky enough to grab one of the few spots available on Wednesdays, you could have a full fried chicken dinner. Any other day and you'd be out of luck.

Mercifully, the NRG has changed all of that with the opening of GBD earlier this month in Dupont Circle. GBD (kitchen shorthand for golden, brown, and delicious) is an all day, all night, one stop shop for fried chicken, doughnuts, and beer steps away from the Dupont metro stop.

The brainchild of NRG husband and wife duo chef Kyle Bailey and pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac, GBD offers pretty much anything you could want out of fried foods and desserts. Breakfast offerings consist of a fried chicken on a sweet potato biscuit with spicy honey ($3.25) and a variety of scones and muffins. Lunch brings lunch boxes ($8) of a drum and thigh or chicken "tendies" with slaw and a biscuit. At dinner, chicken can be had by the piece, bucket ($25), or a full dinner for four ($40). This is also where you can branch out from fried fowl and opt for a chicken fried steak ($10) or fish and chips ($10). And fear not, fans of the Luther ($10) can rejoice because it is now a permanent fixture at GBD. There's even a fried chicken bao bun ($3.50) that was added to the menu last minute when it was discovered that one of Birch & Barley's cooks could make kick ass bao.

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Tiffany MacIsaac's doughnut creations. Clockwise from top left: chocolate pudding-filled brioche topped with milk chocolate ganache and Cocoa Krispies; bourbon butterscotch glaze topped with housemade bacon; key lime curd-filled brioche topped with gingersnap crumble; lemon curd-filled brioche topped with strawberry glaze (the "Strawberry Lemonade"); spice glaze, oatmeal streusel, and vanilla icing; and apple and banana rum raisin fritters.

Meanwhile, Tiffany MacIsaac's brioche and cake confections are available all day. From fan favorites like the bourbon-butterscotch glazed doughnut with bacon and fritters, which are basically the doughnut equivalent of BBQ burnt ends—scraps of doughnuts cobbled together with more surface area for glaze to form another flavor Frankenstein doughnut—to more inventive numbers like a grapefruit-Campari cake doughnut. Doughnuts can be ordered from their own designated counter up front.

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A modular menu to accommodate the rotating menu of myriad doughnuts and fried chicken creations.

And to round it out, NRG's resident beer guru, Greg Engert, is curating a 19 draft beer list with special sections of "fried chicken beers," "doughnut beers," and "drinking beers." Each is carefully selected to balance the savory, salty chicken or rich, sweet doughnuts. A selection of house punches ($8 each)—like a the Smooth Ambler bourbon, grapefruit juice, ginger-sage honey, and lemon "Scout It Out"—help the nostalgia hit home of a sunny day with KFC and punch, just much better.

Not only is GBD a long anticipated realization of something NRG fans have been hoping for for years, but it's also open until 2 to 3 a.m. most nights, so you can get your fried chicken, doughnuts, and beer fix basically anytime you want. Need more convincing? Head to the slideshow to check out a sample of all the fried food you'll be able to eat at GBD.

GBD

1323 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036 (map)
202-524-5210; www.gbdchickendoughnuts.com

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