A Few of Our Favorite Fried Things

By Sarah Freeman  |  October 6, 2015

Congrats, you've made it to the end of bikini season. We're going to celebrate by diving head-first into a plate of fried chicken with a side of fried pickles. And pass that plate of deep-fried cheese curds, because we’re planning on eating like this until spring with the help of a few of our favorite fried things. 

Fried Cheese Curds at The Duck Inn
No trip to Wisconsin is complete without digging into a plate of deep-fried cheese curds. The squeaky curds that the state is famous for are great on their own — but even better after a dip in the fryer. But where can one find solid curds south of the border? Try this Bridgeport gastropub that serves lightly fried curds, which are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, on the bar menu with Bloody Mary ketchup and hoppy mayo.

Fried Pickles at Lillie’s Q
We will shamelessly admit that fried pickles are one of our favorite foods, which means we’re particularly qualified to find the finest specimen. Fact: they are at this Bucktown BBQ spot. Here, diagonally sliced slivers (the cut is crucial when it comes to fried pickle superiority — anyone serving fried pickle spears is doing it wrong) are heavily coated in beer batter, fried and served with ranch dressing.

Chicken-Fried Lobster at The Dawson
Some might think that battering and frying lobster meat is a sin. To those people, we suggest holding all judgment until one bite of the chicken-fried lobster. The 6-oz. lobster is tempura battered and given a quick dunk in hot oil so the meat doesn’t get overcooked and rubbery. The whole lobster is served with a side of spicy ranch. Sinning never tasted so good.

Fried Mozzarella Sticks at Roots
Leave it to the pizza makers to know how to transform simple mozz sticks into gourmet bites. Each stick starts with housemade mozzarella cheese that is dressed in from-scratch garlic and herb bread crumbs. Once fried, each one passes the cheesy elasticity test and is perfect with a bit of marinara sauce.

Chicken Oysters at GreenRiver
Meet the chicken oyster: that little nugget of rich, dark meat found along the backbone of the bird and that is naturally the perfect size for nuggets. It’s a favorite of chefs and takes center stage on the bar menu at GreenRiver, where chef Aaron Lirette fries and serves them over a bed hot sauce and garnished with pickled Fresno chiles.

Pork Rinds at The Publican
When pig skin meets hot oil, something magical happens: the skin puffs into a crispy and crunchy snack food. Publican is famous for dusting their Slagel Family Farm pork rinds with a mixture of cheddar, malt vinegar and Espelette pepper powder, which essentially turns the rinds into a meatier version of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. And we don’t hear anyone complaining about that.

Onion Rings at Little Goat
How does one improve upon the simple standby that is the onion ring? Leave it to Stephanie Izard to reinvent the wheel — or ring, as it were. Hers, served among other modernized diner classics, are pickled before they are fried, eliminating that jarring raw onion sharpness and instead imparting a tangy flavor that pairs perfectly with the curry mayo that accompanies every order of fried onions and pickles.

Crispy Black-Eyed Peas at Ada Street
We dare you to eat just one of these deep-fried gems. Not long after they land on the bar, this salty and satisfying snack is gone. It’s a signature of the restaurant and for good reason: gently salted and light as air, they put the bowls of mixed nuts sitting out at other bars to shame.