The woman behind Chicken Basket in Germantown knows what her customers like: It’s all about the dajaajah, the pollo, the murghi, the yard bird. American’s favorite meat, chicken.
Sister Lamia Mahmud also knows that people like choices, and she gives them a dizzying array of combos, a la carte, platters, dinners and subs. Chicken Basket is old-school; they give you the familiar foods you love, and lots of it. Think summer bar-be-que and you’ll come up with homemade coleslaw and potato salad, fries, shrimp, chicken strips, crab cakes, burgers and fried calamari. Well, the calamari’s not exactly old-school, unless you’re from the Mediterranean, but you get the idea. So what does she do with all this chicken?
First, she does Buffalo wings. Chicken Basket is known for having the most choices of wing-marinating sauces of any place around: robust cajun, a not-too-sweet honey mustard, traditional tangy BBQ, a more southern honey BBQ, perky honey dijon, and roasted garlic. Then there’s the mild for folks who want to concentrate solely on the flavor of the chicken, regular hot for all of you who like it a little more invigorating, and for those who like fire with their chicken, a concoction called toxic waste, which is perfect for those who don’t really need to feel their lips or tongues to enjoy their chicken. Buffalo wings are a long-held American favorite, so much so that American consumption was up 6.7% in 2008 according to Australian Food News. (Wait a minute - why are they tracking how much of it we eat? They should be tracking their own wing-gobbling.) But this could turn out to be the destination for nibbling on wings.
Then Sister Lamia does a crispy-skinned fried chicken, and it’s best to request a few extra napkins because it’s that juicy. The batter is more of a dusting than a coating, and you get that really satisfying crunch when you bite into a succulent drumstick. It’s not cloaked in breading like some of the big-chain chicken places, so if you want to eat bread with your fried chicken, order a roll on the side, because here you’ll chomp the chicken, not the bite the batter.
A dozen different sub varieties line the menu from a cheeseburger subs to a beef BBQ sub, but the best seller is the Philly Cheesesteak. This writer hails from the City of Brotherly Love, which is famous far and wide for its cheesesteak joints. Chicken Basket’s is a variation on that classic, and they do a pretty good job. It definitely brought back some South Street vibes.
Eat your bird in, carry it out, or have it delivered to your door - every order is done fresh.
Chicken Basket – 12951 Wisteria Drive, Germantown, MD 20874. 301-515-4405. Open Monday – Saturday 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday 12 pm to 9 pm.