October's Can't-Miss Dish

By Ellen Bhang · 09/30/2019

Looking for a no-fail, mouthwatering, gonna-tell-your-friends-about-it plate? Each month, Boston Globe columnist Ellen Bhang highlights the dish you need to try right now—and something to sip alongside it.

On the plate: Cajun Karaage Chicken Sando

Where to find it: While national fast food chains duke it out for the title of best fried chicken on a bun, Boston has a sandwich that rises above the fray. Find it at Ms. Clucks Deluxe Chicken & Dumplings, one of 15 eateries inside Time Out Market Boston, a 25,000-square-foot food hall that opened this summer in Fenway. The poultry sando we’re talking about plays fast and loose with Japanese flavors and is brought to you by restaurateurs Tim and Nancy Cushman, the power couple behind sushi mecca O Ya and izakaya Hojoko.

Notes on the nosh: “I haven’t met a person who doesn’t love fried chicken,” enthuses Rob Wong, chef de cuisine of Ms. Clucks, as well as Hojoko and Gogo Ya, another Cushman venue in the Time Out Market. Wong and his team marinate boneless thighs in soy, ginger, and garlic, then dredge the meat in a blend of potato and sweet potato starches. When dunked in a hot fryer, those two starches create a coating offering high-fidelity crunch. A bit of sizzling fat, infused with the flavor of spicy Korean chili flakes, is drizzled over the fried chicken. Each fillet is tucked into a fluffy potato bun layered with iceberg lettuce, tomato, and applewood-smoked bacon. Ranch dressing seasoned with seaweed flakes, plus cucumbers pickled in dashi broth and rice vinegar, add umami to this delectable creation.

Sip alongside: Sidle up to one of the bars at Time Out Market and request a sake served in its own glass cup. A rich style of the brewed rice beverage, Kiku-Masamune Junmai Taru ($10) offers a whiff of ripe melon and an intriguingly woodsy scent—not surprising given that this version is aged in cedar casks. Cool, silky, and a little pungent on the palate, it’s exactly what you want with this spicy chicken sandwich.

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