Home to both Fortune Cookie and Piro, the stretch of Changshu Road near Julu is a fraternity row for American restaurants. Its newest member is Captain Rooster, an all-American fried chicken and beer concept by Charles Zeng of Dos Locos and Piro fame. Having officially opened its doors last week, Captain Rooster’s still a fledgling, but here’s what to expect.
Zeng literally dreamt up the concept. Says Zeng: I think I was watching Flash Gordon, whose logo also has a lightning bolt, before I went to sleep. Then in my dream there was a Captain Rooster logo. So I drew it out and opened the store.”
Captain Rooster’s ‘Flashy’ logo
The concept itself entails classic beer-soaked, batter-fried Americana – fried chicken, beer, buttermilk biscuits, the works. Think Boxing Cat Brewery, but with a greater emphasis on crispy breaded fowl. However, Charles Zeng is banking on it appealing to many a Chinese customer as well, especially seeing how Korean drama “My Love From the Star” (来自星星的你) is a sensation in China.
The name of the game is fried chicken, and one of Captain Rooster’s signatures is the whole buttermilk chicken (75RMB for half, 150RMB for whole). And if that’s not hearty enough, you can go for the “Mo Chicken Mo Honey,” two whole chickens for 300RMB. Sides include creamed corn, biscuits and sausage gravy, steamed corn and butter, and more.
Buttermilk fried chicken
The highlight is the vodka-battered chicken wings (45RMB for 6, 75RMB for 12), which actually aren’t as bizarre as they sound. Explains Zeng, “A lot of people use water in their batter but I like to use vodka because vodka evaporates faster so it makes the chicken skin crispier. The skin becomes airy with a lighter texture, not really heavy.”
Dressings entail buffalo sauce, teriyaki, honey mustard, garlic parmesan, sweet and spicy chili sauce, mild dry rub, and spicy dry rub.
After that, you’re going to need some carbs to pad the meatfest. They recommend the Traditional Mac and Cheese (65RMB), and the Buttermilk Corn Bread and Buttermilk Biscuits (both 45RMB).
The other half of the concept is beer, and they offer quite a selection, including drafts of Brew Dog Punk IPA (65RMB) and just about all the Rogue flavors from Dead Guy Ale (45RMB) to Rogue Yellow Snow (65RMB) – Rogue appears to be the official beer of most of the spots on this strip of Changshu Lu. And if that’s too “red-white-and-brew‘ for you, there’s a bier garden’s worth of Trappist ales, and other European suds.
Bacon-studded corn bread
Captain Rooster – 75 Changshu Lu, near Julu Lu (常熟路75号, 近巨鹿路). Tel: (0)21-5456-2050. Hours: 11am-1am daily. Closest metro stop: Jing’an Temple, lines 2/7.
See a complete list of our reviews here.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].