So, with apologies, the Brew Coop is exactly the kind of place I would normally not go to for a beer: a self-serve taproom, kinda sterile, a place where “there’s always a game on.” Just not my thing. It might be yours, just isn’t mine. Even knowing they had fried chicken wouldn’t have enticed me. It took the pandemic to get me here for takeout. SF Chickenbox was a pop-up — here and also at other locations — but appears to be a permanent fixture inside the taproom.
I’m not going to lie; I wasn’t prepared to be blown away. But this chicken is sublime. Ethereally light and crispy, airy, craggy and crackly on the outside, and on the inside, a moist, juicy world of tenderness and succulence. I am going to go out on that well-worn, proverbial limb and say … I think it’s better than Krispy Krunchy Chicken (of gas station/convenience store fame). Yes, I’ve said it. Not taking it back. Sorry, not sorry.
Also, this chicken has pedigree. The chef responsible for it is Christian Ciscle, formerly of now-sadly-defunct Farmerbrown. And they use all Halal chicken in all the chicken permutations. The sides were great too — Hawaiian mac salad was on point: not cloyingly sweet, al dente, with just enough mayo, and a bit of carrot for some crunch. Mochi muffins that come with the chicken were a delight – I normally don’t give a rat’s ass about muffins, but these were chewy, a bit dense, yet light and slightly sweet. Their house pickles were nicely crunchy, thinly sliced. The chop salad was standard but a fresh accompaniment to that chicken. The fries were decent, lightly dusted with Old Bay seasoning. Everything that was supposed to be hot was still hot by the time I got home (venting the fries might help a bit, however.)
There are other items on this menu to explore: fried chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese, egg salad, mochis of many flavors, and three different salads. But get the fried chicken.
Also, yes, Brew Coop will sell you beer! They have a lot of it, and you can take some home with you! They’d love to beer you! They offer 32-ounce growlers, a sour, a cider, and a sauvignon blanc. So don’t be like me and forget to buy a beverage. Because what goes better with delicious fried chicken? So yeah, I might venture inside at some point. To get some beer with my chicken.
And I know that the Fried Chicken Showdown of 2019 is over, but Mark Rabine and Julian Mark just might need to pop in to SF Chickenbox. They owe it to themselves.
819 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110