America’s Next Top Fried Bird?

In honor of National Fried Chicken Day, which occurred this past July 6, I decided to investigate other fried birds. Though I have tried deep fried turkey and duck, I never even heard of deep fried quail until I discovered Coquette on Magazine Street. This trendy bistro wine bar serves familiar dishes such as pork belly, gulf shrimp, heirloom tomato salad and so on, but their fried quail appetizer stands out as a unique item.

Fried Quail at Coquette. Photo By Jenny Sklar.

Fried Quail at Coquette. Photo By Jenny Sklar.

This salad-like small plate comes along with two cookie cutter rounds of iceberg lettuce, Benton’s bacon, creamy buttermilk dressing and two tempura battered fried quail legs. The dish seems to be a deconstructed Cobb salad, and I’d take one of these over its counterpart any day.

I was excited to try the fried quail legs, but found that the real showstoppers were the sauces. Both the buttermilk dressing and the Benton’s bacon tomato reduction were phenomenal. The dressing was so creamy, it was practically milkshake consistency and the reduction had just the right amount of sweetness to be tasted over the overpowering creamy dressing.

The quail didn’t make the same impression. With no marinade or seasoning on the skin or in the tempura batter, most of the flavor in the dish came from the two sauces and overwhelmed the quail itself.

The purpose of investigating Coquette was to try this take on fried chicken, but while the quail leg itself had a nice, moist texture, the flavor was too easily masked. I don’t know if this salad would have worked with a thigh from Krispy Krunchy, but I was pinning for some corner store fried chicken by the end of my appetizer.

That said, I still really loved the dish; I’m just more of a fried chicken girl. Good thing I can always hit up Willie Mae’s Scotch House and McHardy’s next time this holiday rolls around.