Sunday we had every intention of eating at A-Frame. We made the commitment to travel all the way across the city and even studied the menu, jazzed about a place with the description “leave pretentious at the door” when you arrive at their website. What we did not catch was that their lunch on the weekends concludes at 3PM. We weekend sleep-inners did not realize this, rolling up at 2:50PM just to make a U-turn out of the place. Where should we grab a bite now? We made our way to downtown Culver City and somewhat aimlessly listed places we’d already been to in the are. A quick Yelping brought us some new options, one that punched me in the face: Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken.
“How had we never noticed this place before?” we asked each other as we walked up to a completely no frills, unassuming store front: if A-Frame asks you to leave pretense at the door, Honey’s Kettle erases pretense from your mind like that mind erasing pen in Men In Black. We walk in and the place is kind of a mess: tables are covered in old trays, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the seating, nearly all the chairs are broken, everything has a vague stickiness to it, and the sound of a basketball game blasts throughout the place. There is a line stretching to the door though and lots of people are there eating lunch and watching the game, many of whom were dressed to be a part of the after-church crowd.
We stare at the menu and have no idea where to begin. Of course, we were a bit giddy to partake in some fried chicken as we had officially declared it a thing just last week, some readers even Tweeting and commenting that Honey’s Kettle is the place to be for fried chicken in Los Angeles. The menu is a very traditional Southern menu, carrying your two piece and a biscuit classic to hot cakes and chicken to fish and chips to sandwiches to make-at-home items. We had no idea what to get. We had to get chicken, yes, but what kind? We had no idea. Splitting the difference of traditional and non-traditional, we opt for a three piece classic and a chicken sandwich.
Now, a warning: if you are on a diet, don’t even continue to read this food review. If you are one of those people who can look at food and ingest calories, you may not want to go any further. Honey’s Kettle is so indulgent and delicious and decidedly not health conscious that it’s almost an affront to anti-obesity and indulgence movements: it is the ultimate comfort food destination.
The food arrives after not-too-long, allowing enough time for us to be entertained by people watching anboy that was maybe eleven years old, dining alone, paying in change for a fried chicken meal–AKA a child after my own heart and also the second little boy I had seen in a week buy fried chicken with quarters. Both dishes arrived in big paper baskets, nearly everything obscured by french fries.
The chicken sandwich was great, a dish that can never do any wrong. It was nicely unremarkable, a straight up sesame seed bun, lettuce, chicken patty, and slathering of Thousand Island dressing atop of it. The chicken is not light and is juicy underneath a crispy shell of skin. It’s certainly not the most over-the-top dish at Honey’s Kettle, which is fine because we were splitting it with the establishment’s assumed jewel, the three piece classic.
This classic dish is three pieces of chicken, a biscuit, and fries. We ended up getting a breast, thigh, and leg/drumstick for our cuts, a selection we felt should represent their take on all of the chicken most accurately. Like the sandwich, each is covered in this curtain of crisp skin, which you’d think would be the star of the chicken but it just is not. Even though I did try the skin independently, you didn’t want to unskin the chicken, eat the skin, then eat the chicken. It was actually a little unremarkable, which is fine because the chicken itself is extremely remarkable. It’s juicy and warm and savory. The drumstick was surprisingly unexciting but the breast and thigh were like wonderlands of chicken. You could just chomp anywhere on them and you ended up with a mouthful of this juicy meat. It was so decadent and delicious: it was a hoot.
The fries are good, your basic standby fries. They definitely come in a big quantity with the classic, almost drowning the entire dish. The biscuit is a major triumph and is the sidekick of anything you order. They are these nearly triangular pieces of bread that are soft and buttery and far smaller than you wish they were. I could have eaten an entire basket of them, I will not tell a lie. If one of the employees had presented more to me, I would have taken them all and eaten them in seconds like I was some rabid food eating competitor trying to prove something.
Honey’s Kettle is very, very good and just so dang comfortable and unpretentious, especially when you consider that their Culver City location is wedged between Ford’s Filling Station and Akasha. We’ve been on that block time after time and we’d never noticed Honey’s Kettle before until Yelp pointed it out. It certainly is delicious and I would say one of the best fried chicken entries in the city. I wouldn’t jump to award it the best in the city, no, but I would say that it falls somewhere near being the sexy prince to whichever undiscovered place in Los Angeles is the king of fried chicken.
Then again, we didn’t try our chicken with any honey, which our sticky table suggested we should have done.