When you crave a fried chicken sandwich and a fast-food version just won't hit the spot, you have a few options. Son of a Gun makes one of our favorite upscale fried chicken sandwiches, as does Canele, though that one is offered only during brunch on the weekends. And if you live on the Westside, you now don't have to venture too far past the 405 to get your fried chicken fix: Fundamental L.A., the small shop tucked innocuously on Westwood Boulevard, added a fried chicken sandwich to its menu not too long ago, and it's a great addition to an already fantastic lineup of sandwiches.
The menu at Fundamental L.A. changes frequently, and it's something of a revolving door, as dishes come and go and come back again. As it is wont to do, then, Fundamental L.A. recently retired its fantastic meatloaf sandwich to make room for its fried chicken one, a substitution that would have been a travesty but for the fact that the replacement might be even better than its predecessor.
The sandwich arrives neatly split in half, so it's not as initially overwhelming as Son of a Gun's. You can, in fact, easily hold the first half of the sandwich in one hand while you check your email in the other. But you might want to put down the phone anyway, to better appreciate the sandwich before you. The chicken has a light batter that hews closer to thin and crispy than to heavy and crunchy; the meat itself remains juicy. Not content to stop at a perfectly fried piece of chicken, the accoutrements are just as good. There's crisp and buttery Bibb lettuce, tarragon aioli and — maybe the secret to sandwich success, other than the chicken itself — spiced walnuts, which give the whole creation a lovely, nutty kick. And the soft brioche holds it all together.
A portion of proceeds from sales of the fried chicken sandwich will benefit the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which is a nice bonus if you're the type inclined to vote with your stomach. In any case, if you're going to skip the fast-food lines and spend $12 plus tax and tip on a sandwich, make it this one. Given that it may fall off the menu à la the meatloaf, maybe make it two.
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