Everything is not what it seems on the menu at Brooklyn Bowl.
Touch a pile of fried chicken in a spacious restaurant for drinks, dining, bowling and music on the Link Promenade off the Gaza Strip.
Spice pieces, golden rocks, grooves, breasts and thighs. First bite – sudden crunch can be heard three tables away. Breadcrumbs give way to steaming the meat. Finger licks, spreads napkins, and then the secret comes out: This fried chicken is gluten-free.
impossible. It’s very good. Is this choking chicken?
A second pile of fried chicken, the standard stuff, arrives by comparison. The texture and flavor are indistinguishable from the gluten-free version. There is no deception here, just skill – and love.
“The reason I thought of going gluten-free was because my wife had a gluten allergy,” said Chef Dermot Driscoll, culinary director at four Brooklyn Bowls restaurants in Las Vegas, New York City, Nashville, Tennessee, and Philadelphia.
“I knew how much she loved fried chicken, and it was supposed to be something you couldn’t have, so I did my best to do something that not only accommodates her, but all other people with gluten sensitivity.”
For the rusks, Driscoll got their gluten-free matzo from Israel and replaced in their regular potato starch with flour. This was followed by two weeks of testing. The gluten-free version should have been appealing, of course, while maintaining the standards of Blue Ribbon, the famous fried chicken supplier whose Brooklyn Bowls recipes featured.
In Las Vegas, major bands appear on the Brooklyn Bowl stage. Shooters play on 32 lanes across two floors. For many people, going for fried chicken is not the point of the visit.
“A lot of people don’t even know it’s a fully functional restaurant,” Driscoll said. You can either eat in the restaurant or eat in the lanes. You can come before the show. You can stay outside after the show. This is basically our flagship. We want to provide a great experience in everything we do.”
The secrets behind the caterpillars
Fried chicken is having a global moment in the US, where menus celebrate the classic Southern dish, spicy Nashville chicken, Taiwanese fried chicken, crispy steak, Italian cutlets, and South African versions made with bird’s eye chiles and toothpick-inspired fried chicken served on Street in China. Korean fried chicken? It has almost become a cliché.
Driscoll will not become global.
“I think it’s great to have a variety and different styles, but I’ll stick with the Blue Ribbon fried chicken and put it against anyone. I don’t change what we’re doing because something is hot right now. The important thing is to make sure you do it the same way every time.”
This poultry process begins with birds that weigh between 3 and 3 pounds. Weight operations occur frequently. Slaughtered chicken pieces covered with ice in hotel vats. Before frying, coat the chicken evenly with the egg white and mix the matzo, flour, and baking soda (or a gluten-free equivalent).
Cook chicken in canola oil at 367 degrees Fahrenheit for exactly 17 minutes, then tossed in a special blend of cayenne pepper, Spanish paprika, and other seasonings. The chef said three hundred and sixty-seven degrees was the “perfect place”. “We’ve tried higher; we’ve tried lower. That’s what fits that size of chicken and that bread and the amount of time.”
On the Brooklyn Bowl menu, it stars fried chicken in a slider, a burger, a mixture of wings, a pile of chicken nuggets and chips. Fried chicken dishes offer dark meat, white meat, or a mixture. Fried chicken dinner is served with cabbage and mashed potatoes with a sauce of gravy. Under the chicken, the delicacy sucks a thick piece of white bread.
When the chef goes crazy
The original Brooklyn Bowl store, in New York, opened in 2009. The Vegas location, the second store, debuted in 2014. Driscoll has been with the Vegas venue since before day one, coming from Mandalay Bay’s House of Blues, which also mixes concerts and events with a restaurant and bar. Prior to opening, the chef traveled to New York to train in the Blue Ribbon Method.
At Brooklyn Bowl, Driscoll harnesses the culinary potential of various activities under one roof. The bowling lane fee includes food and drink credit, and you can now book a lane and order food at the same time online. The chef develops special menus for upcoming offerings. Diners can watch shows on screens. Then there are the private gatherings that are easy to accommodate through the high-rises at the Brooklyn Bowl.
“I reserve my crazy side for special occasions,” the chef said, venturing beyond fried chicken and other menu items with dishes like meatball inside-out stuffed with spaghetti and Parmesan, then topped with marinara and parsley. Or macaroni and cheese balls studded with meat. Or grilled sea bass with watercress.
In the next few weeks, a new menu will be launched with more appetizers, including chicken wings. (If you want smoked wings instead of fried, call to order a couple of days in advance.) Driscoll was quick to admit he doesn’t fry alone as the Brooklyn Bowl’s poultry excrement.
“It’s not just me. It’s a whole team,” he said. “You have to inspire this team, get to know them, appreciate them, and thank them for the good work they’ve done.”
Frying chicken requires a kitchen.