ACL Food Fight: East Side King vs. Max’s

By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 10.08.14
 East Side King — Thai chicken karaage ($9)"Top Chef" Paul Qui's East Side King side project opened its inaugural foray into ACL with the standard-bearer of its Asian street food aesthetic: fried chicken thigh tossed with sugar-fire sauce, cilantro, onions, basil and razor-thin jalapeños. That’s it, and although the boat came from the warming bin, it was still hot and hanging on to the last of its crisp edges. Like a double order of McNuggets from the place fast food goes when it gets tired of wearing a paper hat.
 Max's Wine Dive — Fried chicken sliders ($9)You can build a plate around fried chicken. A plate of bone-in fried chicken with bread and mashers and greens, drizzled in chipotle honey. They do it at Max’s every day, tongue in cheek with champagne sometimes. But for its first trip to ACL, Max’s left behind the vegetables and the bones, keeping only the bread and honey to make sliders. The chicken stayed strong, but tissue-paper lettuce, pickle and a single tired tomato slice wilted like training camp rookies in the warming bins. We could use some of that champagne over here.
 The winner — East Side King: Both places brought chicken hot and fast, but East Side King brought a full flavor package built around the chicken. Max’s just brought the chicken.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
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