Sadly, in 2008, Oakland lost two restaurants that served excellent fried chicken. Having grown up in South Mississippi, I know my way around deep fried poultry, and I can tell you that the cooks at The Southern Cafe and Declancy’s Welcome Table knew what they were doing. Both closed mid year, but somehow I soldiered on.
Tonight my wife and I found a suitable, albeit more expensive, replacement at Casa Orinda. It’s an Italian restaurant with a Western theme (no Ennio Morricone background music, though), but they serve a wicked fried chicken plate. The mashed potatoes and gravy are delicious and the biscuit with honey is divine.
The place was packed early on a Sunday night, so we ended up eating at that bar, which is generally fine by me. The friendly bartender even shared some info on how the chef gives the biscuits a really buttery flavor without using much butter.
And they’re not a one trick pony, either. The orecchiette with broiled chicken and portobello mushrooms in a marsala sauce was also very, very good. The beer lineup, all in bottles, was just okay, though I did enjoy a Lagunitas IPA. Probably not the best pairing with the orechiette, but it was what I was in the mood for.
And thanks to the best of 2008 list at Oakland Magazine for tipping me off to Casa Orinda’s fried chicken.