All words: Marie Formica
All photos: Marie Formica & Stephanie Breijo
Put off your summer diets for a spell, here comes GBD Fried Chicken and Doughnuts. His roots twelve years deep in fine dining, Chef Kyle Bailey (Birch & Barley, Churchkey), along with Buzz Bakery’s pastry chef (and Bailey’s wife) Chef Tiffany McIssac, cooked up a comfort food filled menu so down-to-earth, you could mistake it for a country food fusion place actually located down South. Enter their newly opened Dupont dual-contender for the titles of best hangover food ever and fanciest informed twist on Southern favorites, GBD (Golden, Brown, Delicious). Last night under warm, bare bulbs and alongside exposed brick walls, GBD served its first steaming fried chicken and sparkling sweet doughnuts.
To kick off the evening, bartenders poured were fried chicken-paired beers and doughnut-paired beers hand-picked by Church Key / Birch & Barley beer director Greg Engert. Alongside these appeared vodka, gin, rum and bourbon punches with all stripes of unusual and intimate flavors (taste the lavender-rosemary vodka with rhubarb syrup and lemon, or the spiced rum, apple sour, pomegranate and Earl Grey mixes as examples). Yellow striped buckets of steaming, pure buttermilk single-drenched fried chicken were passed around, a whole wealth of sauces glittering alongside like so many jewels in a fried chicken crown: sweet tangy mambo sauce; creamy, herby ranch; a delicate version of General Tso’s with a tiny kick of spice on the back end (my favorite); a tangy remoulade; smoky chipotle BBQ, ever so sweet with a hint of strawberry. Piled high next to the chicken and sauces were classic potato salad, sprinkled with crispy bacon, and creamy cole slaw.
Not a restaurant to miss a trend, there was a chicken bao bun sandwich: the traditional bao wrapper, as the name implies, contains a sauce-slathered tender of fried chicken and is sprinkled with shaved carrots and refreshing leaves of mint and cilantro. The menu last night, I was told, was tied together with ponzu flavors, something that may change often. Smoked fried chicken skins and pickled eggs (cider and beet pickled) hinted at snacks to come on the menu. These folks, ever loyal to the Luther, created a version of it for GBD’s menu. Served last night as a bite sized version of the chicken, crispy bacon and maple-chicken jous sandwich, it was crowned with slightly glazed and slightly spicy mini brioche doughnut bun. The best savory treat by far was GBD’s breakfast sandwich, a juicy fried chicken thigh on a just-sweet-enough sweet potato biscuit with spicy honey and hints of nutmeg.
You may not know me, but I am not one to forget dessert. Thick, generous doughnuts with inventive taste combinations were dished up and almost too pretty to bite, a glorious sweet contrast to the hot savory half of the evening. Beneath glaze, comfort food toppings (cereals, bacon) and easy titles, these desserts smacked with awesome taste. The simplest pleasures were the gala apple fritter (with perfect crunch from its cinnamon glaze), the grapefruit-campari old fashioned doughnut (packing a citrusy kick) and the devil’s food doughnut (honey peanut and caramel). For those with the sweetest of appetites, the coffee cake doughnut (spice glaze, oatmeal streusel and vanilla icing) or the carrot cake (spiced dough, cream cheese glaze and candied pecans) will do the trick. You may have to fight off other patrons to snatch the day’s brioche doughnuts: chocolate cream filled (milk and chocolate glaze and cocoa krispies), key lime filled brioche (lemon vanilla glaze and gingersnaps), and the bourbon butterscotch glazed (topped with, what else, bacon).
A celebration of country fried everything and sticky-fingered sweets, GBD packed all sorts of unusual flavors together between the walls of its cozy Dupont interior. It definitely lives up to its acronym: golden, brown and delicious.