By Alex Lipsett
Zaki Broast & Grill
1385 Baseline Road
Who doesn’t like fried chicken? It’s a crispy, salty, guilty pleasure that, more often than not, comes in a bucket. Some of my favourite family memories are centred on the Colonel’s best in the middle of the table. But what if I told you that there was a way to make fried chicken better?
When it comes to Zaki Broast & Grill on Baseline Road, the name says it all. The fried chicken here isn’t actually fried at all. It’s broasted.
Broasting is a technique similar to deep-frying, in that the meat is marinated, lightly breaded, and prepared in a pressure cooker. But, not only does this technique cut down on the absorption of oil into the batter, it also keeps the chicken juicy and tender. This is due to the speed of the cooking process, which prevents dryness and doesn’t allow time for oil to penetrate the coating.
Zaki’s does this to perfection. The chicken is a nutty golden brown, free of the standard fried-chicken-grease-gleam. Also absent is the abundance of salt found in typical fare. Zaki’s keeps the seasoning on the surface of the chicken to a minimum, and instead relies on their marinating process. Along with fried chicken, their menu also includes favourites such as chicken fingers and steak sandwiches.
Because the chicken itself isn’t overly seasoned, the homemade garlic and hot sauces add to the overall flavour construction. The garlic sauce adds richness and pungency, while the hot sauce provides heat and acidity. These two sauces, combined with the tender, juicy meat and crisp batter, create a fantastic balance of flavours and textures.
Zaki’s chicken is served with french fries and a dinner roll, along with the aforementioned sauces. While the fries seem to be fresh-cut and well seasoned, on top of the fact that they are served in a large portion, the dry, tasteless dinner roll leaves me puzzled. It could stand to be left off the plate to make the meal completely satisfying.
As far as service and ambience goes, Zaki’s is nothing out of the ordinary. Place your order at the counter to a friendly and welcoming cashier who then sends it to the open kitchen. There are tables available, but there hasn’t been a great deal of effort put into the dining setting. Everything is bland in colour, and could be described as sterile. The dining area doesn’t have a welcoming feel to it, and the waiting time for each order is rather long. This may have to do with the fact that each item is cooked to order, which actually adds to the overall quality of the food.
Zaki Broast & Grill is a change from the regular and definitely worth consideration when it comes to fulfilling a fried-chicken craving. For their style of food and service, I give Zaki’s a generous rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Stop in and get a three-piece combo with garlic and hot sauce. You won’t regret it.