We stopped into Beast & the Hare last Sunday and found that we lucked out to be there for fried chicken day chef Ian Marks has been doing fried chicken with cornmeal doughnuts and a tomato gravy each Sunday at the restaurant. Suffice it to say, it's pretty awesome, with hints of fennel and coriander in the batter that give it an Italian flavor, not unlike fennel sausage, and the doughnuts were sweet-savory and warm, with the perfect ratio of crunchy to cakey. We called Marks to ask for his secret, but naturally he's reluctant to share. "We kind of nerded out one day at the restaurant trying to figure out the perfect fry batter. Three people at the restaurant know the secret. I'm not joking."
He goes on to explain that they were picturing those KFC commercials with the perfectly battered drumsticks flying through the air. "We were like, goddamn that chicken is so good," and so they tried out a few things until they hit on a winning mix.
He did reveal a few details, though. "Everyone does buttermilk with their chicken and I think that's lame. There's no fat in buttermilk anyway. So we brine it, and then soak it in milk for two days, then fry it to order."
Also terrific is the tomato sauce that's served with the chicken and doughnuts. "In Spain I always loved tomato toast," Marks tells us. "I thought that a tomato sauce with sherry vinegar with some rosemary and thyme would go well, help cut through the fat."
And yes, yes it does.
The Beast & the Hare - 1001 Guerrero at 22nd Street - 415.821.1001