37: The Island Combo at TiGeorges' Chicken

TiGeorges' Chicken's Island combo
TiGeorges' Chicken's Island combo
A. Scattergood

Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4) -- and probably beyond, at this rate -- we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.

37: The Island Combo at TiGeorges' Chicken.

One imagines George Laguerre, who opened his Haitian restaurant TiGeorges' Chicken some fifteen years ago, as something of an Echo Park Job. First there was the devastating January 2010 earthquake in his native Haiti, which destroyed the homes and businesses of many of his friends and family. Then, only a month later, an electrical fire destroyed the roof of his restaurant, as if catastrophe had simply changed direction. It took almost a year for Laguerre to reopen. But reopen he did, the restaurant recalibrated and rebuilt so that it seems, on the surface, as if nothing much has happened. It has, of course. Haiti still remains in partial ruins. And catastrophe leaves patterns and fissures, whether you can see them or not.

But all that is forgotten, at least for dinner, when you sit down to a plate of TiGeorges' chicken, the focal point of the menu and of the restaurant itself, the tables of which are gathered around an enormous custom-made medieval-looking spit near the restaurant's front window. (An apocalypse would probably not destroy that thing, certainly not a little ceiling fire.)

the rotisserie at TiGeorges' Chicken
the rotisserie at TiGeorges' Chicken
A. Scattergood

Laguerre roasts all his chickens on this gothic contraption, over avocado wood, and gives you the option of ordering a halved or a quartered bird. Order the most you can manage, as there are few better roast chickens served in Los Angeles. If you pick the Island Combo -- which sounds like something you'd order on a cruise ship or pick up at a beach shack or see in the background of a Dos Equis commercial; it is not -- you'll be given not only the glorious chicken that you came for, but a collection of things that compliment it in ways you might not immediately consider.

Acra, or taro root fritters, fried plantains, rice and beans, a bit of dressed salad and a couple of ramekins that look innocuous but are decidedly not. One holds "chicken sauce," which is the juice from the chicken, more or less. And the other? A mixture of raw garlic and onion and black pepper and olive oil (and a "secret ingredient," of course) called ti malis that you might think resembles a dipping sauce but that you should just pour over the whole plate. All of it. Because it's that good.

When everything's said and done and eaten, and Laguerre has perhaps stopped by to tell you about his ongoing trips to Haiti and his foundation and his family's coffee farm there, you should order a cup of the Haitian coffee. Maybe he'll even pull the shot of espresso made from his family's coffee beans, which he roasts in the back (you can smell the coffee as you drive down Glendale Blvd.), on the Pasquini machine. Steamed milk. Notes of bay leaf and lime. Maybe get another chicken for later and be glad, as we all are in Los Angeles and the chef certainly is now, that the ground mostly does not shake and the fires (real, metaphorical) mostly are out.


Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.

100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles

99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1

98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil

97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.

96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche

95: Duck Shawarma at Momed

94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa

93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen

92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord

91: Baco Mercat's Bazole

90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame

89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence

88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market

87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane

86: Galbi Jjim at Soban

85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post

84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun

83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co

82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus

81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza

80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant

79: Tandoori Chicken at Al-Watan

78: Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding at The Hungry Cat

77: Agedashi Tofu at Izakaya Bincho

76: Pork Chop at Salt's Cure

75: Porcetto at Sotto

74: The Sea Urchin Tostada at La Guerrerense

73: Wood-Roasted English Peas at Tar & Roses

72: Persian Mulberries at Weiser Family Farms

71: Hunan-Style Preserved Pork with Tofu at Hunan Chilli King

70: Brisket Banh Mi at Gjelina Take Away

69: Yukhwe Bibimbap at Oo-Kook Korean BBQ

68: Lamb Pie at Beijing Pie House

67: Son of a Gun's Uni and Burrata

66: Pastrami Reuben at Art's Delicatessen

65: Beef Koobideh at Kabab Mahaleh

64: The Whipper Burger at Hawkins House of Burgers

63: Slippery Shrimp at Yang Chow

62: Whole Channel Island Red Sea Urchin at Water Grill

61: Going Dutch Panini at Bread Lounge

60: Huckleberry's Green Eggs & Ham

59: Pickled Watermelon Salad at L&E Oyster Bar

58: Spaghettini with Abalone, Pickled Cod Roe and Truffles at n/naka

57: Brown Brown Bread Ice Cream at Scoops Westside

56: Smothered Chicken at R and R Soul Food

55: Duck Fried Rice at Jar

54: Taco Sampler at Guisados

53: The Sycamore Kitchen's Double BLT-A Sandwich

52: House Wonton Soup at China Café

51: Almond Croissant at Proof Bakery

50: The Southern Fry at Plan Check Kitchen + Bar

49: The Dodger Dog at Dodger Stadium

48: Papaya Salad at Krua Siri

47: Lucky Baldwins' Traditional Full English Breakfast

46: Edomae Tendon Bowl at Hannosuke

45: The Pescado Zarandeado at Coni'Seafood

44: Hot Wings at Beer Belly

43: Raw Kale Salad at Elf Café

42: Steak Tartare Tacos at MessHall

41: Bánh Mì at Buu Dien

40: Sicilian Slice at Pizzanista

39: Grilled Baby Goat T-bone at Mozza's Scuola di Pizza Salumi Bar

38: Papri Chaat at Jay Bharat


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