Chef Ben McPherson is gearing up to open his new endeavor: Krisp Bird & Batter. McPherson, who’s been involved with several Houston restaurants including Batanga, Prohibition Supperclub, Conservatory and El Burro & The Bull, is centering his new concept around chicken sandwiches.
On the menu you’ll find six to eight chicken sandwiches, including a Korean fried chicken sandwich, on a variety of breads -- wheat, challah and on a waffle -- as well as custards, shakes, salads and sides. McPherson is putting great care into the ingredients, serving his food on products free of antibiotics, GMOs and hormones. “Ultimately my goal is to cook the most flavorful food. We’re going for the ultimate chicken sandwich,” he said. The fast casual store is expected to open sometime this month on the corner of Richmond and Fountainview.
We asked McPherson about his favorite Houston eats and what he would serve at a Houston tailgate. He also shared his recipe for Chicken Fajita Spring Rolls, a dish you can try this weekend to add some real Houston flavor to your Super Bowl Party.
The Super Bowl is coming up. In your mind, what dish should be in the ultimate Houston tailgate?
The best way to describe Houston in a tailgate would be to grill out some fajitas and then also to have some spring rolls. What’s more Houston than tacos and Vietnamese food, right? That’s the first thing that comes to mind: fajitas. Grilled steak and chicken and some little salads and stuff that you can build your own tacos with. That would be my option for Houston tailgate food.
What are some of your favorite places to eat/drink in Houston?
Huynh in downtown it is the best Vietnamese food inside the city. Their lemongrass tofu and the bon bu hue, it’s this spicy noodle soup. Pho is the gateway food in the Vietnamese. Their lemongrass chicken. Taqueria Laredo on Cavalcade and 45 (115 Cavalcade St.), that is my number one go-to for people to have food epiphanies. They’re like, ‘oh my god, I’ve never had anything like this.’ They have the best breakfast tacos and the barbacoa is actually delicious there. There’s nothing like a mom and pop. If you’re visiting Houston, the Chinatown here is very impressive compared to most cities. It’s incredible; you’ve gotten everything from the most amazing Chinese to Malaysian to Vietnamese all in that one are. In one shopping center, you can get a bowl of ramen, you can get some lasa, which is a Malaysian spicy soup, you can get the frozen shaved fruit, you can get a foot rub and dim sum. It’s the best day off. I’ve been guilty of going there at noon and not leaving until 9 o’clock at night.
Crawfish is the other big one. Being from the Gulf Coast and a huge crawfish eater, I only had it Cajun growing up. I got here and I got introduced to Vietnamese style, which is stir fried with garlic and spices and herbs. My mom and stepdad make a pilgrimage every crawfish season and just eat crawfish. You kind of have the basis of the Cajun flavor and you get that stir-fry garlicky, lemongrass flavor and it’s just delicious.
Chicken Fajita Spring Rolls
- Vietnamese rice paper sheets
- 1/2 lb. cooked fajita chicken, sliced into thin strips (marinade follows)
- green leaf, bibb, lettuce
- 2 cups cooked rice vermicelli noodles
- fresh mint, leaves picked and washed
- fresh Thai basil, leaves picked and washed (Italian basil can be substituted)
- 1 cup, cucumber cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup, carrots cut into matchsticks
- Thinly sliced jalapenos, optional
- Avocado, thinly sliced
- Fajita Chicken Marinade:
- ¼ cup Orange Juice
- ¼ cup Soy sauce
- ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
- ½ lb. chicken breasts
For the dipping sauce:
- 3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. sriracha
- ½ tsp. fish sauce
For the Chicken:
- Combine all of the marinade ingredients together and place in container or zip lock bag for 1 hour up to 24 hours.
- Remove chicken and grill until cooked all the way through.
- Remove and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing into thin strips.
Assemble the rolls:
- Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip the rice paper into the warm water for a few seconds. Quickly place wet rice paper onto a cutting board.
- Starting at the bottom third of the paper, add a few pieces of green leaf lettuce. Top with some of the cooked rice vermicelli noodles, cucumber, jalapeno, basil and mint.
- Tuck and roll over the filling for one roll. Add three pieces of cooked chicken, then roll again, tucking in the sides (i.e. like making a burrito). Repeat this process for the remaining spring rolls.
To make the dipping sauce:
- In a small bowl, add the rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, and sriracha. Stir to combine and enjoy!