Origins: Steve and Kristi Little have owned Beaverdale restaurant Chef’s Kitchen for eight years. Menu items there are inspired by the husband-and-wife team’s travels, Kristi Little said. The fried pickles, for example, were inspired by trips to the South.
Stats: Steve Little calls the serving size of his beloved fried pickles a “handful,” which would be correct if Shrek was running the kitchen. A half-size serving tips the scale at around 8 ounces and a full-size order weighs in at approximately 16 ounces. Both are fit for sharing. The restaurant goes through about 25 gallons of pickles each week, making the item one of the most desired at the restaurant.
How they’re made: Dill pickles are dried out, then soaked in a wet brine. When a customer places an order, the pickles are tossed in a spice mixture, soaked in beer batter and dropped in the fryer. If the pickles sit in the dry rub too long, they become gummy, Kristi Little said, which is one of the reasons why each is cooked to order. The crispy delicacies are served with a side of fresh, delicious house-made pesto ranch sauce.
Taste: There’s not much that can be improved upon. The layer-by-layer experience is terrific. Dunk the pickle and you’ll taste the creamy cool sauce, followed by a hot, spicy, crunchy outer layer. Then your teeth hit the vinegary pickle on the inside. The overall effect is brilliant, since each taste experience is so different from the others.
Tips: Once the waiter delivers the dish, Kristi Little recommends waiting for 30 to 45 seconds before chowing down. This lets the pickles cool and the flavors settle. If you have leftovers, reheat them correctly: First, let them come to room temperature, then heat them on a hot pizza stone in the oven, and they’ll crisp back up, Kristi Little says.
Chef's Kitchen fried pickles
Cost: $8.99 for a full order, $6.49 for a half order
Where: 1903 Beaver Ave.