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Food

TLO Restaurant Review: The Drum Room

4:51 AM EST on February 1, 2022

“Bang the drumstick slowly,” I ominously said to no one in particular as we entered the atmospheric Drum Room, 4309 N. Western Ave. It was a long-awaited—for me, at least—sampling of the famed Western Ave. chicken outlet, after several hungry attempts when the place was momentary unavailable for my famished needs.

But everything, for once, seemed to come together for this visit. I was on a date with a new friend, and we had made it in time for that magic moment when the sky was a burning red hue, causing the floor of the Drum Room to be covered with a reflective blanket of fiery dusk. I know I say this a lot but, really, it was the perfect moment for fried chicken.

As we sat down in a darkened booth and looked over the slim menus—the Drum Room appears to care about chicken and only chicken, a great selling point for me—we quickly decided on our dinners. As we waited, sipping the cold waters, throwing back and forth various jokes, the sun had finally decided to go down, turning things from red to black.

Our dinner truly began with the Chicken Fried Nachos ($10.00), served with the extra additives of jalapenos ($0.50), sour cream ($0.50) and, because I’m a big spender, guacamole ($1.00). While having to pay for those added accoutrements would normally miff me, here it was easily forgotten because these were some incredibly tasty nachos, mostly thanks to the fried chicken on top.

A main treat before the main dish, the chicken was cut and sliced and placed on the top of every large nacho chip, not a single one broken or even slightly chipped. But, and this was an absolute surprise, it was the freshly cut jalapenos and, even better, the primo salsa, that relied more on flavor than heat. It made for an enjoyable preamble to dinner.

But dinner…ah, that dinner!

This is where the Drum Room really shone oh so bright, especially on the Half Bird ($12.00), already a monster cock that I couldn’t wait to fill my hungry holes with. One leg, one wing, one thigh, and one breast—not to mention the waffle and, for a little bit extra, a biscuit—this was a drum solo that even Buddy Rich wouldn’t fly off the handle about.

The chicken here, sliced, spiced, and deep-fried, was remarkably delicious; each cut was perfectly cooked and perfectly eaten, as my fingers became disgustingly greasy, the tips digging deep into the plump musculature; the only time I put it down was to take a bite out of the sweet waffle or, even better, the buttery biscuit.

As I was greedily eating my dinner, lording over my plate like a Dickensian miser, my date started talking to an old work friend that was at a table or two over; I wasn’t offended, however, as it gave me more time to selfishly relish my food, devilishly devouring the eats and not apologizing for the way I did it. Cómpralo ya!

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Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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