BEST FRIED CHICKEN - 2006
It takes a tough guy to make tender fried chicken. Just ask Leonard Lowe of Nardie's Café. He is very serious about wings—plump, meaty, significant, wholly satisfying fried chicken wings. Dark golden with a crackly coating, moist and tender, sizzled within moments of your order, they'll transport you into the celestial; let the devil deal with the rest of the bird. This is not finger food, but the stuff you're meant to eat with your whole hands, sometimes in the car on the way home. (Tell the carwash guy it was an act of God.) Order them by the dozen or for dinner with selections of soulful sides: red beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, collard greens, coleslaw, potato salad, and, of course, fries. Don't skip the New Orleans hot sauce, or the tiny squares of tender corn bread. You can eat in at one of the tiny, tippy tables near the TV on its tilted stand, but better to hang at the counter and watch the buses on Nicollet go by. At $10 per dozen (great for a party) these wings are fried chicken the way it was meant to be: real, and really memorable.