A comfortable and relaxing atmosphere is always nice. Lots of natural light, great location and easy directions are great, too. Well planned design and complimentary colors are always nice to have. But when it comes down to it, a good piece of chicken is what most people really want from a restaurant.
Crown Fried Chicken and Kabob House delivers on that. Situated near the busy corner of Livingston Road and Swan Creek Road in Ft. Washington, MD, it’s a former chain pizza-place that seems to be thoroughly enjoying it’s reincarnation as the area’s place to be for some home-style fried chicken.
It’s a boxy little restaurant, all white and unassuming on the outside, and done up in contemporary bright blue and white checks with yellow accents placed here and there. The old beamed ceilings were removed and green curtains taken down to open up the space and give it a light, breathable feeling. The fast-food atmosphere has been upgraded by shiny burled walnut tables and a huge, suspended flat screen TV to keep you company if you’re dining alone. Roomy and comfortable blue and white booths are high-backed, so no one has to see you forgo your table manners as you tear into your chicken.
Open since November 2008, owner and some-time cook Br. Rahmutullah Ayuby has brought a bit of his Afghanistan heritage to an otherwise thoroughly American menu with tender whole baby okra stewed in mellow and ever-so-slightly sweet tomatoes. It’s a side dish that can easily veer off into the gooey range, but Crown’s kitchen handles it properly by not cutting the okra, and then thoughtfully mixing it into the tomatoes right at the end of cooking, so the okra retains its firmness without ever getting mushy on you.
The samosas may not be as big as some you’ve seen, but they make up for it with a flaky, light crust, and a lightly spicy potato and green pea filling that’s not greasy in the least. Br. Rahmutullah likes to promote healthy foods, so order the hand-stretched whole wheat naan for a pleasant chewiness and homemade flavor.
The chicken here is going through an identity crisis because the fried breasts are surely trying to pass themselves off as dark meat. Bite into one and you get the unmistakable juice and texture of a thigh or leg. The coating is minimal and the skin crispy. This is some of the best chicken the area has to offer.
Venture off the conventional menu for a moment and try the lamb chops for a treat. Br. Rahmutullah’s wife Sis. Sadiqa marinates them in her special mix of sumac, lemon juice, olive oil and other spices, then grills them till they’ve formed a nice crust to seal in the flavors. They’re dainty looking, but strong on flavor, with a meaty, dense texture that will have you cleaning off every bit of meat from the bones.
Crown’s customers are both Muslin and non-Muslims so not every meat offering is halal, but all of the chicken is, with the exception of the hot wings. The kabobs, gyros, and chops are all halal, too. But Br. Rahmatuallah encourages you to make sure to ask about the cheesesteak sandwiches, which come in a conventional version, and then the halal version especially for his Muslim customers. And if you’re in for breakfast request the halal turkey bacon to round out your morning meal.
They’re located conveniently close to Masjid al Hikmah, and you’ll frequently see groups of brothers and sisters enjoying a meal after jumu’ah. Stop by the masjid during Ramadhan and enjoy the blessing of iftar, courtesy of Crown Fried Chicken and Kabob House.
Crown Fried Chicken and Kabob House - 11911 Livingston Rd, Ft. Washington. MD 20744. 301-203-0010. Open 7 days a week; Sunday - Thursday, 7 am to 11 pm; Friday - Saturday 7 am to 12 am; Serving breakfast 7am to 12 pm.