Chef Carl Cushenberry makes his fried chicken on Mondays at the Roosevelt Hotel. (Photos and videos by Frankie Prijatel, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)
Chef Carl Cushenberry can be hard to pin down.
He will swear the beans for his red beans are grown on the Roosevelt Hotel’s roof -- until you ask to see the plants. Then he'll laugh. Depending on the day, he might tell you with a straight face that the secret ingredient in his spicy fried chicken is Thunderbird fortified wine or even hazelnut coffee creamer.Take a bite and you will likely agree.
The crisp chicken, the color of red clay with moist, spicy meat, is served every Monday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the Roosevelt Hotel's Fountain Lounge, where the light is hushed and a pianist croons jazz standards. For $18.93, you get a basket of chicken, red beans, slaw, a biscuit that glistens with butter and pint of beer. Cushenberry will likely bring the chicken to your table himself. He might sit down to talk, gesturing widely as if he’s onstage. Eat it all, and he'll bring you more.
"I can tell you the ingredients," he said, although he ultimately wouldn’t reveal them. "But if you can't do it like me, you're not going to do it correctly."