City Paper is not for tourists
The Dish: Fried chicken skin ice cream sandwich
Where to Get It: The walk-up window at Bantam King, 501 G St. NW; (202) 733-2612; bantamking.com
What It Is: One glance at this summertime treat reveals that it’s not your typical ice cream sandwich—even without the fried chicken skin. The kitchen starts by toasting two King’s Hawaiian rolls, stuffing them with vanilla ice cream imported from Japan, topping them with fried chicken skins left over from roasted birds, and sprinkling the whole shebang with a cinnamon-sugar mixture and kinako, a powder of dried and toasted soybeans.
What It Tastes Like: Awesome. First, who doesn’t love those sweet, squishy Hawaiian rolls found in grocery stores? Second, the crunchy fried chicken skins are the perfect salty counterpoint to all the pillowy sweetness. The cinnamon and kinako don’t come through strongly, but the snowy powdered sugar helps it at least to look like a dessert.
The Story: Chef de Cuisine Kristian Felix was involved in the research and development of the dish. “Something we were missing when we were testing was a little bit of texture,” he says. “We have chicken skins always available—why not fry it up and see how it tastes?” He says that when the cinnamon and sugar were added, for him it evoked the flavor of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Plus, “It fits the restaurant really well, so we said, ‘What the heck?’” He adds that ramen-slurpers will finish lunch inside and head outside to the walk-up window to order one for the walk back to work.