44. Spicy Lemon Garlic Chicken at Chicken Maison

Photo by Kristine Hoang
Oh my

Behold our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!

I'm not a fan of chicken. But the Spicy Lemon Garlic Chicken at the beloved Chicken Maison in Santa Ana is a different story.

For those of us who aren't experienced chefs, chicken is a risky venture. Hen can sometimes end up bland. Other times, it's prone to being as dry as a Southern Californian heat wave. However, this chicken is a far cry from bland and dry.

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In standard definition, the dish is rotisserie chicken with sauce all over it. Sounds simple, no? But it's much more than that. Its true beauty lies in its combination of tender meat, crunchy skin, and zesty seasoning. Nothing is overdone: the meat is perfectly cooked and the seasoning - a combination of lemon juice, red chili, and black pepper - is just the right amount of flavorful. To give you a visual, the sauciness of the seasoning often drips to the bottom of the plate, leaving a red-orange shadow under the bird. For color, the whole thing is garnished with green onions.

And if that wasn't enough flavor for you, you'll be glad to know the chicken comes with a side of white garlic sauce. A little dab will give the meat a nice kick, but feel free to slather it all over your chicken. Most people end up doing just that - myself included.

And it's cheap! For $8.25, you get a quarter Spicy Lemon Garlic Chicken with two sides (you can choose among options like potato salad and hummus). For an extra $2, you get half a chicken, which is good enough for two people. $10 for some of the best chicken you can get for two? Man. What a deal.

The List:

46. Surround Sound Burrito at the Secret Spot
47. Spam and Egg Banh Mi From Tan Hoang Huong
48. Marianne's 10-2- Ice Cream At Ruby's Diner
49. Chile Relleno Pretzel Cheeseburger at OC Fair
50. Lunch at Big Thunder Ranch at Disneyland
51. Pescado A Lo Macho at Muelle Peruvian Cantina
52. Cemita de Milanesa at La Cemita Poblana
53. Meatballs and Polenta at 320 Main
54. Shellfish (Ốc) at Hien Vuong Da Kao
55. Basic Bol at Boldo Bol
56. Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill
57. 10-Item Plate at Thuan Kieu Noodle & Grill
58. Leche Frita at Cafe Sevilla
59. Happy Hour Sushi at Ginzaya
60. Red Beans and Rice at Disneyland's French Market
61. Consommé from Tacos y Birria El Güero
62. Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich at Little Sparrow
63. Breakfast Taco at Sapphire Laguna
64. Husky Burger at Husky Boy Burgers
65. Love Bagel from Koffee Klatch
66. Kouign Amann From The Crema Cafe & Bakery
67. Chili Lime Popcorn From Green Tomato Grill
68. PB & J At Hopscotch
69. Takuwan Sushi from AnQi by Crustacean
70. Ube Ensaymadas from The Ensaymada Project
71. Pork Bánh Mì at the OC Poultry and Rotisserie Market
72. Tacos Gobernador from Mariscos Los Corales
73. Dutch Baby at the Original Pancake House
74. Doughnuts from Sidecar
75. Lengua Tacos at La Chonita
76. Oysters from Carlsbad Aquafarm at the Orange Homegrown Farmers Market
77. Lemon Miso Crab Melt at Umami Burger in Laguna Beach
78. Pani Puri from Adya
79. The Pocket at the Pocket Burger
80. Gyro Sandwich from Paul's Place
81. Slice of Heaven at Pie-Not
82. Taquitos at El Toro Bravo
83. Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut at the Donuttery
84. Dan Dan Mian at Wei-Shian Noodle
85. Beef Burger at Rider's Club Café
86. Smoked Trout at Provenance
87. Small Plates at A&J Restaurant
88. Corn Cheese at Zoomak Asian Bistro
89. Pumpkin Curry at Bhan Baitong
90. Poke at Costco Tustin II
91. Pambazo at Tacos Radioactivos
92. Beef Pho at Pho Crystal Noodle House
93. Breakfast Burrito from Cafe Calacas
94. Koobideh Plate from Grill Cafe
95. Tacos de Cecina from Alebrije's
96. Jajangmyeong from Ching Chinese Express
97. Breakfast Sausage from Da-Le Ranch
98. Any Special Dinner by Old Vine Cafe's Mark McDonald
99. Tres Amigos Burrito from Piaggio on Wheels
100. Bacon-Wrapped Dates from Lola Gaspar

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Location Info

Chicken Maison

3332 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, CA

Category: Restaurant

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