Ah, chicken fried steak. This tenderized piece of steak that has been coated in seasoned flour, battered and deep fried in the same oil that the restaurant usually uses to fry its chicken (hence the chicken in chicken fried steak) is a southern classic that you would normally have to travel south of the Mason-Dixon line to get.
For those that aren’t familiar with it, this dish usually consists of a cut of meat (normally a tougher cut like cube steak or flank steak) that’s been hammered to tenderize it, battered in a breading, and then fried (deep fried versions usually get the chicken fried steak moniker, while pan-fried varieties generally get the country fried steak title). It’s then served next to some mashed potatoes, maybe some vegetables, and a side of biscuits and then topped with a traditional white gravy.
If any of that excited you in the slightest, it turns out there’s a place you can get a great one and you don’t have to travel THAT far south to get it. Instead of heading south of Houston, why not just a few blocks south of Houston street. There, on the corner of Orchard and Stanton, is a relatively new restaurant called The Derby.
This rustic-looking restaurant with its unpolished wood tables, dim lighting and bright yellow chairs (for a pop of color, of course) is serving up down-south favorites like buttermilk biscuits, southern fried chicken, bourbon yams, and, of course, chicken fried steak. The ambiance is relaxed, unpretentious, and the mascot on the mirror (a jockey parading a banner with the words “Biscuits and Biscuits”) seems to further invite you to grab a seat with your southern food and join in that other southern tradition –getting wasted on whiskey.
The executive chef of The Derby, Jeff Kreisel, invited us down recently to show us his chicken fried steak recipe (in which he uses a tender ribeye for his steak cut) and before he finished his sentence we were there, cameras in hand, ready to learn. Here he is demonstrating how to make chicken fried steak (and he even shows you how to make it without the deep fryer for those who don’t live in an industrial kitchen or, I don’t know, live in an apartment in NYC). Check it out!
Click here for the full Chicken Fried Steak recipe.
If you try to make it at home, let us know how it went! And if you’d rather go try it at The Derby, let us know if it lived up to the expectations!
167 Orchard St., TheDerby