Saturday, July 4, 2015

Wishbone: Fried chicken from two chefs in University City

It's at 4034 Walnut St., on the former longtime site of Penn campus' Lee's Hoagie House.

Wishbone: Fried chicken from two chefs in University City

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Chefs Alan Segel and Dave Clouser wanted to drop back into the restaurant business but wanted to put their fine-dining pasts behind them.

Quick service. Focus on one thing and do it right.

"Keep it simple," said Segel, who with his wife, Nicol, turned heads on the Main Line nearly two decades ago with a posh spot called Tierra (now Savona) in Gulph Mills. Clouser was chef-owner of Sola, a BYOB in Bryn Mawr.

Their product would be fried chicken.

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Last week, they attempted to open Wishbone (4034 Walnut St., 215-921-3204) on the former longtime site of Penn campus' Lee's Hoagie House, which they had stripped down to the bare walls and floors. But they kept selling out of chicken and had to close after a few hours. Now they are getting the hang of the volume.

They simply sell four varieties of fried, boneless, skinless chicken - standard white meat and dark meat, and a specialty white meat and dark meat - for $8.95 a pound. The specialty will change every two weeks; right now, it is a zippy Thai coconut curry and basil.

"You want one tender, we'll sell you one tender," Segel said, adding that they didn't want to sell breasts, thighs and legs. "If you're under 30, you've probably never seen a bone in your life." Five different dipping sauces accompany. The breading's foundation is made of crushed Snyder's pretzels, whose various crumb sizes create a complex texture.

They also sell baked hand pies ($4) and bottled-on-the-premises juices and drinks and New Hope fountain sodas.

It's mostly takeout; they've built out a small dining area upstairs. Delivery by bike will follow.

Segel and Clouser are big believers in brining chicken to infuse it with flavor. That's a 12-hour process, so they invested in a drumlike, vacuum contraption that cuts it down to one hour, allowing them to prepare small batches. 

For now, hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, and from midafternoon to 10 p.m. weekends.

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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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