Howlin’ Ray’s (Nashville HOT Chicken)


Howling’ Ray’s recently opened a brick and mortar location in Far East Plaza, Chinatown. I started following the food truck via twitter ever since they started rolling in L.A, but I rarely get out to food trucks anymore, unless it’s a special event. Needless to say, I am absolutely THRILLED about the new spot downtown.

Howling’ Ray’s is run by Chef Johnny Zone and his wife Amanda Chapman. Zone is an L.A. native who fell in love with “hot chicken” while working in Nashville’s Husk restaurant. The “Nashville Hot Chicken” they’re serving in L.A. is “ear-tweaking spicy” and exactly the kind of pain I like from my food.

I’ve eaten some pretty spicy food in L.A., including a fiery dish called Dynamite, the spiciest dish at Jitlada Thai Restaurant, so I was looking forward to trying the hottest level of fried chicken called (not surprisingly) HOWLIN’. But after reading a piece by my friend Jenn, I sort of chickened out (sorry), and went for  two levels down.

Jenn Harris from the L.A. Times wrote: “At first you think you’re fine. In fact, just eight seconds before your mouth turned into a battlefield, you were praising yourself for being a spice master — someone who scoffs at a heat challenge, and a little cayenne pepper. But eight seconds pass, the time it takes for the spice to kick in, and you realize the entire piece of chicken was covered in that deep red hue.” Read her original article on the original food truck here. Read her update here.

When ordering your chicken, you select the type of meat and the amount you want, then select from six heat levels: COUNTRY (no heat), MILD (brush of heat), MEDIUM (feel the burn) , HOT (burn, baby, burn), X-HOT (you’ve been warned) or HOWLIN’ (can’t touch this).

When my husband Peter and I tried the chicken last week, we went for the HOT (level 4 out of 6) and it was pretty darn HOT. Not “Jitlada hot”, but enough to make us both sweat and eat very, very SLOWLY. Peter even went for a horchata ice cream to help put out the fire. Luckily, Scoops is just across from Howlin’ Ray’s.

On weekends, Howlin’ Ray’s serves Hot Chicken & Waffles. If you’re planning to go for brunch or lunch, just note that the line will be really long. We decided beforehand to do a brunch crawl at Far East Plaza, so as Peter waited in the long line for hot chicken, I hit up Chego for a first course, then to Pok Pok Phat Thai for course number two. We stood in line, sharing the dishes until we made it to the Howlin’ Ray’s counter. A game plan we’ll be using again soon.

PHOTOS:

Howlin' Rays Nashville Hot Chicken
Howlin’ Ray’s Nashville Hot Chicken, spice level 4 HOT.


Hot Chicken & Waffles. We were pleasantly surprised to see Chef Jeff Mahin (behind the counter with owner Johnny Zone) turning out the waffles!

Howlin' Rays Nashville Hot Chicken
Look how JUICY inside.

Howlin' Rays Nashville Hot Chicken
There will be a line on weekends. We waited over an hour and yes, it was worth it.

Roy Choi's Chubby Pork Belly Bowl
Too hungry to wait? Have someone save your spot in line… Chego is across the way. Roy’s Chubby Pork Belly is a favorite. Kochujang-lacquered Kurobuta pork belly rice bowl with a fried egg, pickled radishes, water spinach, Chinese broccoli, cotija and peanuts.


Pok Pok Phat Thai is right next to Howlin’ Ray’s. Grab some street food if you need sustenance! Hoi Thawt: Crispy broken crepe with steamed fresh mussels, eggs, garlic chives and bean sprouts, served with Thai Sri Racha sauce.

Howlin’ Ray’s is open Wed-Sun, 11am to 4pm.

727 N. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012

HowlinRays.com

Hot Chicken & Waffles served Sat & Sun only.

Howlin’ Ray’s on twitter | facebook | instagram

Read more about Chef Johnny Zone here

Chego

Pok Pok Phat Thai

Scoops Ice Cream

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