You know that noise corduroy pants make when you walk? As any good logophile will tell you, there's actually a phrase to describe that very leg-fabric interaction: whistle britches. Southerners have also adopted the phrase to refer to folks who draw attention to themselves, e.g. "old Whistle Britches over there sure knows how to make good fried chicken." Which is true, actually. Whistle Britches (the restaurant, not the slang term used to describe musical pants) does make damn good fried chicken. And they do it at brunch, too.
From the patchwork quilt-colored rooster statues that preside over the front lawn to their "we're all about chicken" tagline to their distinctly pro-poultry interior design (ovum posters, anyone?), it is apparent that Whistle Britches has poulet on the brain. The brunch menu, with 12 entrees to peck and choose from, contains eight chicken dishes alone. You've got your fried chicken, served a bird at a time ($34 for 10 pieces and sides), on waffles ($14) or with biscuits ($12-$14.) There's a pulled chicken Cobb ($12) for those with a hankering for lighter fare, as well as a couple of vegetarian options for those who wish to deeply offend their Southern ancestors. And while French toast with pecan streusel might perk your appetite, we encourage you to lean in, Sheryl Sandberg-style, and embrace the cluck.
The Chicken Benny ($14) is a king-sized creation of crunch, cream and biscuits as soft as cotton balls. Whistle Britches uses the brine method for its chicks; the result is meat permeated with juice and a nice briny kick on the back-end. And the crust? It's there in all its golden glory, providing each bite with a mighty satisfying crunch that makes one appreciate their molars. And while the chicken and biscuits were good — simple, straightforward, well executed — a smattering of the accompanying pimento cheese reminded the eater to be thankful for the Southern food revolution, for it spurred the Second Coming of Spreadable Cheddar. Some runny yolk from the poached eggs, a little pimento cheese and a swipe of the hollandaise that was blended with a bold, grainy mustard made the Benny a star worthy of its very own opry.
The restaurant's namesake biscuit, the Whistle Britches ($12), had the same bones as the Benny — the I'm-ready-to-meet-Jesus biscuit, the slap-your-mama-and-then-all-of-your-other-relatives-and-then-finally-your-work-family chicken — but paired them with an amount of honey butter that would ruin even the most dedicated of dieter's 10-year plan. The dish also differed in that it featured piquant, tangy pops of pepper jelly — oh, if only there were more of that jelly. If simple is your game, go for the Britches. You get a little sweet and a little tart, but the overwhelming emphasis is on the chicken and biscuit.
Whistle Britches says they're all about chicken. After brunching there, we'd have to agree.
Whistle Britches, 6110 Frankford Road. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
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