Hands down the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. The first time I ever visited Coop’s Place in New Orleans' French Quarter was around midnight after a late arrival to the city. On several recommendations, I dragged two friends with me to get a plate of the fried chicken with a side of the house signature rabbit and sausage jambalaya and chowed down while downing some Abita beer — and I went back two days later.
Located in an unassuming dive bar across from Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Coop’s is a no-nonsense place. No reservations, just a line out the door, and if you’re rude, they’ll kick you out. Don’t try and press the waiters to hurry because they’re on Southern time and will ignore you. But none of that matters when the large plate of chicken goodness and flavorful rice is placed down in front of you and you take your first bite: crispy, well-seasoned batter covers the tender, soft meat that easily shreds in your mouth.
The jambalaya is just icing on top of the cake: served in traditional Creole-style, it’s made with boneless rabbit that’s simmered with smoked pork sausage, tomatoes, onions, local seasonings, bits of shrimp, and tasso (a Cajun seasoning ham) for good measure. The servings are large, but it would be surprising if you didn’t gobble the whole thing down. I must admit that I have not ventured beyond the fried chicken, except to share a platter of the fried sampler with friends after a day at Jazz Fest (needless to say, I can’t really offer a valid opinion on it).
My advice? Make sure to stop by, go hungry, and be prepared to eat (and maybe wait a little). But I promise you won’t be disappointed. They made a regular customer out of me and I live in New York City.