Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series: The Crispy Coop
Not wings this time. Well, one wing, but also half a chicken.
Exterior photo taken non-maliciously from Susan Post and Columbus Underground. We’ll slide you some sauce to make up for it.
In one of the more bizarre intersections in Grandview sits The Crispy Coop, which opened earlier this year and is still open during our time of social distancing. Those of you familiar with Acre will feel some of the former restaurant’s ghosts as you head inside, but we have a feeling The Crispy Coop is a much better fit for the area.
The Crispy Coop is a southern-style fried chicken restaurant that is by no means attempting to be a Hot Chicken Takeover contender, but they do boast a “Nashville Hot” version of their chicken. Intrigued, we decided to stop by. As of this writing they are doing carryout and most delivery systems. Remember to support local if you can during this strange time!
Something we noticed immediately about The Crispy Coop is that everything goes to the bottom when you get takeout. While initially you may think “sounds gross, why are you bringing that up” it’s typically a sign that things are nice and fresh. In a Columbus Dispatch article it was noted that The Crispy Coop doesn’t own a freezer and everything is fresh, and our assessment of the quality backs that up. Under the top layer of spirals of macaroni (we got the large because it’s mac & cheese and how do you not get a large portion) the sauce is thick, cheesy, and overall coats the pasta extremely well. As one does, I added some Farty In the USA to it to kick it up a bit in the portion I ate.
We opted for the Half Chicken dinner which comes with a breast, thigh, wing, leg and two sides. Cornbread and Texas Potatoes were our choice of sides, though we ended up missing out on the Greens and Cole Slaw. Growing up in Northeast Ohio we called the Texas Potatoes “Jojos,” though after looking it up further it sounds like people in the Northwest US try to lay claim to that name. Regardless, these potatoes have a great seasoning and a light breading (which is the same as the chicken) that coats the outside. While the potato is cooked well, I run into the same gripe that I typically do with jojos: it’s tasty until you get to the unseasoned part. I may be a monster, but I’ve always thought the inside would be better if it could be seasoned. Anyway, if you like potato wedges, these will be right up your alley. The cornbread is the right kind of crumbly and has an appropriate amount of butter. A lot of cornbread tends to be dry, but thankfully The Crispy Coop has mastered the moistness.
On to the main event, the chicken. We got the Nashville Hot to see what we were dealing with, but they also have Traditional and Tennessee Mild if you are not a spice seeker. The Lady of the Farm picked some of the skin off and ate it before I could warn her that it was the Nashville Hot. She had expected me to get half hot, half regular, but come on, you can’t be doing that to the cooks. Much to her dismay she got some of the spice and grabbed for some water, sticking her tongue out angrily at me, then spite eating most of the mac and cheese. No argument here, fair’s fair. I grabbed the drumstick first and started in. The skin was light and crispy with some sweetness to it and a nice kick right off the bat. Most Nashville Hot seasonings go hard with the cayenne pepper and I think (though not verified) that is the case here as well. A well-cooked chicken is always nice and The Crispy Coop nails it in this category. Brined for 24 hours before being cooked, it’s juicy, tender and above all, delicious.
Through the drumstick, the heat built a bit. Not a mouth-breathing heat, but it had my attention. Working through the thigh I kept glancing at the breast (don’t be gross). Was it getting redder as I went along? As the box emptied and just the largest piece of chicken was left, I re-examined everything. The potatoes were gone, the Lady of the Farm had absconded with the mac and cheese, and the cornbread was half dead. The skin on the chicken breast was perfect. Still a light breading, but crispy and bubbled up enough to really catch the spicy seasoning it was dredged in (or whatever method of application). The kick remained, but never reached much of a peak. It’s another comfortable level of spiciness, cooked into one of the better pieces of fried chicken I’ve had in Columbus.
Now before you yell at us for this picture, think about what we said above around everything going to the bottom. I slathered both of these pieces in the remaining oils and seasonings that remained in the bottom of the box, but the more orange piece was directly before taking the photo. The other was many seconds before that and initially had the same hue. The chicken is juicy enough that the oils can seep through it, disappearing back to the bottom. While this may not be the spiciest dish in Columbus, it’s well worth the $10.50 price tag for the amount of food you get and the quality that comes with it. All things considered, we’re placing this dish at #28, just above Satori Ramen Bar’s Kara Kapow (please don’t make another ramen challenge) and below Kai’s Crab Boil OMG Heat Level.
You can find The Crispy Coop at 1717 Northwest Blvd Columbus, OH 43212. They are currently open for carryout via phone, online order or through most online delivery services.
Look below for more in our spiciest dish in Columbus series and hit us up if you have any suggestions that are not already on our list!
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