Curry Fried Chicken
660 S. State St.
Salt Lake City
Mon.-Sun. 11 A.M. - 9 P.M.

What do superheroes eat after a hard day of do-gooding? Shawarma, of course. If you saw Joss Whedon’s latest movie, The Avengers, and you stayed for the second, post-credit end scene (it’s on YouTube), you know what I’m talking about. Where do the local superheroes get a genuine shawarma in our little home of vice and virtue? Well, there is only one answer: the new shawarma joint called Curry Fried Chicken.

Of course, they make curry fried chicken, too, which is a great public service in itself. If the world has to be divided between Chick-Fil-A and Kentucky Fried Chicken, then I just don’t want to get my chicken fried anymore.

Housed in a smallish building on State Street next to Big Deluxe Tattoo, you can sit inside at the counter and watch while your food is being prepared, or at the window and see the traffic rolling down State Street, or outdoors on a pleasant, little patio. Curry Fried Chicken is a cousin, I suppose, of the fine Curry In A Hurry family. The place is a real ma n’ pa business run by a young couple. They are both very nice and take alternate shifts providing fine food and a clean kitchen. Their young daughter was at the counter, studying, several of the times I dropped by.

The reason I came to eat here in the first place was because of some shawarma advice from Jeff Vice, the do-gooder, film critic and premier of that local cult, The Geek Show podcast. It was a favorite new place of his because the curry fried chicken was really good. Call me suggestible, but after seeing The Avengers, I realized the only thing in the film I could do like those guys was eat a pita sandwich (and I wanted one).

So, throw in the fact that Curry Fried Chicken makes a shawarma ($6.49), the deal was sealed. So, what is shawarma, you say? Here, it is as big a pita as I have ever seen, sauced generously with a tzatziki-style yogurt and spicy pepper, filled with lettuce, cucumbers and a changing cast of the other, usual vegetable suspects. All of these are arranged to celebrate strips of juicy roast chicken. The flavors are good, light summer fare. Yogurt, like vinegar, is a bracing flavor. Used with skill, it can create a first-food-experience you never forget. I grew up an average American kid, and the first few times I got a mouthful of flavor from a messy gyro or cool Indian raita on a hot curry, my head turned clean around.

The Fish Wrap ($6.49) is a variation for you pescatarian friends, or for you Friday Catholics (you know who you are). With this fried white fish, you get the same broad, tasty pita and similar sauces, and it is every bit as fine a dine as the shawarma. The fish is deep oil-fried in a light layer of lentil flour in a separate pan from the chicken, which is cooked up in a drop fryer. This segregation keeps those with food rules happy, and, importantly, keeps the fried chicken un-fished.