151013-DECATUR-GA- Ligaya Figueras restaurant review of Revival in Decatur on Tuesday October 13, 2015. FOOD: Revival Fried Chicken, mac n' cheese and the Gillespie family iron skillet corn bread. (Becky Stein Photography)
Photo: Becky Stein
Photo: Becky Stein

Kevin Gillespie, Gus's enter the Atlanta fried chicken race

Want to rile up a group of Atlantans? Ask them about their favorite spot for fried chicken around town, and chances are you'll get very varied, impassioned responses.

Now, two new spots are vying to become your new favorites: Revival, Gunshow chef Kevin Gillespie's take on classic Southern cuisine, and Gus's Fried Chicken, a Memphis chain that has established buzz around its fried poultry.

AJC food editor Ligaya Figueras reviewed the former and food writer Wyatt Williams reviewed the latter, and both gave high marks to the chicken they tried.

"Fried chicken rules the roost at Revival," Figueras writes. "With all three pieces (thigh, breast and drumstick, in my case), the skin was crispy, without being oily and seasoned, with a touch of spicy heat. The meat was incredibly moist and juicy. The wet batter is bound to have something to do with such perfection, but so, too, the adept hands of the two cooks at Revival whose sole job it is to make fried chicken day in and day out."

Williams calls Gus's "both deeply elementary and wonderfully perfect fried chicken."

"Gus’s has perfected the basics and then dialed the flavor up to 10. I don’t mean this stuff is spicy like transcendently hot stuff served in Nashville, nor does it bring in some unfamiliar element from a chef’s Proustian flavor memory. No, this chicken is spicy (but not too spicy) with cayenne, it has the smoky depth of paprika, it has the brace and pop of salt and pepper, and if you close your eyes and really pay attention, you might catch a tang of buttermilk. Maybe."

Read Figueras' full Revival review and Williams' full Gus's review here.

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