Winner: Southern Fry
Restaurant: Plan Check Kitchen & Bar, Los Angeles
Sandwich creator: Chef/Partner Ernesto Uchimura
Inspiration: “My spin on traditional Southern foods.”
Key ingredients: Smoky fried Jidori chicken, spicy green pimento cheese, duck breast ham, pickles
Why it’s special: The superior freshness and care taken with Jidori chickens (cage-free, no hormones or steroids, slaughtered the day they are delivered) make them the Kobe beef of chicken.
Food cost: 28 percent
What others said: “There is only one dish [Southern Fry] in Los Angeles that I crave. There is only one dish in Los Angeles that I think about daily, wishing that I could have it for dinner. There is only one dish in Los Angeles that has me culinarily hypnotized. There is only one dish in Los Angeles that defines what it means to make ‘new’ comfort food.”— Kyle Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles I’m Your’s
What the judges said: Now we finally know why the chicken crossed the road—it was to get into this ridiculously delicious sandwich. We’ve heard that Jidori chicken is so pure and clean that you could slice off raw pieces and eat it like sashimi. We’re not going there any time soon, but thankfully Uchimura’s glorious chickens are Southern fried to perfection. Draping a slice of duck breast ham on top is a crowning achievement. Even with a sandwich this good, no one should leave the restaurant feeling they are unworthy. Our therapists say those feelings will some day pass.
• Farmhouse Chicken Sandwich: Full City Café, Portage, MI
• Perfect Prickly Pear: Flancer’s Incredible Sandwiches & Pizzeria, Mesa, AZ
• The Tidewater Sandwich: Taste, Norfolk, VA