The equal-opportunity fried chicken enthusiast is as content to settle in front of the TV with a bucket of Popeye's as he or she is to sip champagne between bites of a pasture-raised, koji-marinated fine-dining specimen. Oh happy is the day when these two worlds collide: At Hopscotch, chef Kyle Itani soaks Mary's chicken for three to five days in a marinade of spicy Japanese mustard, soy sauce, and buttermilk, then dredges the meat in a mixture of flour and potato starch before dropping it in hot oil. The result is crisp-skinned, succulent fried chicken that straddles the line between fancy and unfancy, between Japanese-style karaage and the down-home birds of the American South — equally tasty over white rice as it is with a few shakes of Crystal hot sauce. You can order the chicken at the restaurant, but our favorite way to enjoy it is the takeout-only Bucket O' Chicken: eight pieces packed in an actual cardboard bucket like you'd get at KFC. Once you're home, it's up to you whether you want to bust out the cheap beer or the Moët & Chandon. Either way, the chicken itself is cause enough for celebration.
© 2019 East Bay Express