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Friday, June 4, 2010

Battle Roast Chicken: Due Drop In vs. Goood Frikin Chicken

Posted By on Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Rotisserie chicken is one of those take-home dinners that seems to merit replating on proper china. San Francisco chickenheads chicken lovers can pick a favorite style ― Peruvian pollo a la brasa, French poulet rôti, Safeway Select, herb-rubbed Middle Eastern. In the latter category, San Franciso has two Jordanian-American competitors: the often-misspelled Goood Frikin' Chicken, which SFoodie has loved up more than once, and six-month-old Due Drop In, connected to the Castro's Morning Due Cafe.

After hearing from a friend who lives two blocks away from GFC but converted to DDI, we decided we had to see for ourselves: Whose roast chicken is better?

click to enlarge Due Drop In's chicken with chard.
  • Due Drop In's chicken with chard.
Due Drop In 489 Church (at 17th St.), 626-3767.

Basic Setup: This winter, Joel and Reham Haddad, who've owned Morning Due in the Castro for more than a decade, opened a takeout-chicken stand on the side of the cafe. The Haddads brine their free-range chicken for 24 hours, then rub on herbs and

orange juice, and rotisserie the heck out of the bird. (Wait, is

rotisserie even a verb? Rotissize? Rotisse?). The chicken comes with a wide choice of sides: mac and cheese, ratatouille, chard sauteed with garlic and raisins. At $8.99, the "camino" special is quite the deal ― a quarter bird, salad, one side, and a roll. For an extra $2, you get a pint of draft beer, which you can drink while you wait for your order.

The taste: We've eaten twice at DDI and still haven't found the right time to arrive to get the bird straight off the rotisserie spike. Even if the skin is no longer crisp, it takes the slightest tug to pluck the leg meat off the bone; there's a very slight sweetness to the marinade, courtesy of the orange, and the seasoning paste covering the surface is discreet, letting the chicken flavor come through.

click to enlarge Goood Frikin' chicken.
  • Goood Frikin' chicken.
Goood Frikin' Chicken 10 29th St. (at Mission), 970-2428.

The basic setup:  GFC does chicken any number of ways ― spit-roasted, grilled, kebab'ed, and shaved for shawerma, but we still prefer their signature rotisserie bird. A half chicken with a salad, a round of puffy home-made olive oil bread covered in za'atar, and a choice of sides (mostly starches like potatoes, mac and cheese, and beans), costs $8.95.

The taste: Like peas picked off the vine or ripe peaches eaten off the tree, nothing can compare to a half-chicken pulled off the spit and delivered straight to you with papery, steaming skin and juices pooling on the plate. We've had that meal at GFC several times. Nevertheless, on our last visit our half-chicken was pulled from the warmer ― a better comparison against Due Drop In's, we supposed. Even without crackling skin, the GFC bird still has a vibrant kick to the seasoning and meat so succulent we feel overly armed wielding a plastic butter knife.

The verdict: We have to give it to Good Frikin' Chicken because, on the whole, we preferred the assertiveness of its garlic-lemon-herb rub, not to mention the garlic dipping sauce in case we wanted even more. Perhaps if we managed to score the Due Drop In chicken at its peak, too, it might change our minds. Nevertheless, the newcomer's got chops ― and a bigger selection of vegetable sides.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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