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Why LA Weekly's Critic Prefers Gus's Fried Chicken Over Howlin' Ray's

May spicy fried chicken unite us all

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
Frances T/Yelp

This week, Besha Rodell reviews Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, the Mason, Tennessee-born chain with locations in the South and Midwest. The LA location on Crenshaw and West Pico is the first on the West Coast, hawking what has become a phenomenon in the City of Angels, hot chicken.

The Weekly critic first explains why she doesn't prefer Howlin' Ray's, simply because it "is only available if you're willing to stand in line at Chinatown's Far East Plaza for hours. I know standing in line for food is viewed as a thrilling sport these days, but its allure is as baffling to me as ferret legging (look it up)."

Instead B. Rod prefers Gus's, and it isn’t hard to understand why:

The coating on the chicken is thin and shattery. It seems as if they have somehow taken the skin of the chicken and imbued it with a slow-burning heat and lots of salt and crisped it to the point where the fat has liquified and re-fused and created a perfect amalgamation of crackling schmaltz and cayenne. Yes, the interior is juicy, even on the white meat, and if you order the three-piece dark meat plate, you may find yourself dazed and covered in red and brown grease and wondering where all that chicken went when you had planned to take at least one piece home with you. And maybe you want another piece. Maybe you could just sit here and eat this chicken indefinitely. [LAW]

As for the rest of the experience, "all of the sides are good without being stunningly great," and the chess pie is "a little too eggy, the crust too stiff even when offered slightly warmed."

The critic concludes:

It's probably ridiculous for me to hope, on this of all weeks, that fried poultry might be something that works to unite us. But looking out over the dining room at Gus's, with that low-level chili sting warming your soul, you might at least take comfort in this one small miracle: Spicy chicken's time has come. [LAW]

Gus’s earns two stars.