Jan. 23, 2014 at 11:59 AM ET
Looks like the prediction that we’ll see more outlandish food mash-ups in 2014 is coming true.
Last week, we heard about the Cragel, and now comes word about a new ChocoChicken restaurant from Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman.
Yes, that’s right, ChocoChicken, as in chocolate and chicken.
Fleischman is quick to point out that this isn’t chicken with a mole sauce, or chicken dipped in chocolate. This is a whole new concept—fried chicken with chocolate infused into the batter—that the world has never seen, he said.
“I think a lot of people think we’re going to just be spraying Hershey’s syrup on a chicken wing,” Fleischman told TODAY.com. “It tastes nothing like you think it does.”
While the recipe is a secret, of course, Fleischman told TODAY.com that he first marinates the chicken for 12 to 24 hours, then adds a secret breading, and then a final rub. Chocolate is part of all three steps to the recipe, he added.
Fleischman’s business partners Keith Previte and Sean Robbins were kicking around ideas when they stumbled upon the idea for the chocolate-chicken combo, Fleischman explained, and the three refined the dish.
The first ChocoChicken is slated to open this March in Los Angeles. And if you don’t live in L.A., don’t worry: Fleischman is confident there will one day be 1,000 to 2,000 ChocoChickens nationwide. (There are about 4,600 U.S. locations of KFC, by comparison). The restaurant will also serve house-made biscuits and “new school” sides to be announced.
The chef and former screenwriter knows a little bit about starting a craze. He founded the first Umami Burger back in 2009 with little more than $40,000, and the chain, now with 21 locations, projected $50 million in revenue last year.
Los Angelenos went crazy for his burgers, which are infused with a secret sauce that lends them the savory so-called “fifth taste” of umami (after sweet, salty, sour, bitter), and the chain now has locations in Florida and New York as well as California. (He also co-developed a growing chain of pizza restaurants, called 800 Degrees, where people can create their own pies.)
But will people go as nuts for chocolate-infused fried chicken? The chef assures us they will—it has that certain "crack factor," he said—and added that the chocolate taste is not as subtle as you might assume.
“From the first bite, you think, ‘Why has nobody done this before?’ ” he said. “It isn’t sweet, but it is definitely chocolate, and it is just delicious. It’s not what people think, and they are going to have to try it to believe it.”