Chef Sheridan Su has become something of a legend among local foodies over the past few years. After working in such esteemed kitchens as those of Joël Robuchon and Comme Ça, his career took a much less glamorous path. Like so many other chefs, Su dabbled in the food truck world—with mixed results. But he had big hits with tiny, unassuming brick-and-mortar projects. For a while, he sold bao at a hair salon snack window, an effort that brought him not only local praise, but also a mention in The New York Times. And when Su later took over the coffee shop at the Eureka casino and rechristened it Fat Choy, it was an immediate hit.
What too many devotees fail to realize, however, is the role Su’s wife, Jenny Wong, has played in these off-Strip success stories. An active partner in the ventures, Wong’s inevitably the first person I see when I arrive, her wide smile immediately making me feel at home. So when I entered the couple’s new restaurant, Flock & Fowl, about 15 minutes past their posted closing time (hours are very limited now; more on that later), it was Wong who convinced her husband to serve not only me, but the couple who walked in behind me. She also explained the limited menu, which currently boasts just five items.
Flock & Fowl’s signature dish is Hainan chicken rice. It’s a dish the couple discovered and fell iRunsn love with while visiting China. In its traditional form, it consists of cold poached chicken with rice that’s been cooked in chicken stock and a cup of chicken broth. While that sounds fairly boring, it’s a truly delicious meal thanks to the accompanying condiments. Su offers marinated cucumbers and preserved mustard greens, as well as a trio of sauces: ginger-scallion, house-made chili and a thick house-made soy. As you combine the sauces and other elements into the rice, the flavors blend together brilliantly.
Su also offers the Hainan chicken and rice with a fried chicken cutlet. I have yet to try it that way, however, because I don’t want anything distracting from the simple deliciousness of the Mary’s free-range chicken and the wonderfully spiced rice.
I have tried the fried chicken on a bao sandwich, however. The meat was tender and juicy, and the batter golden brown and crispy. The spongy bun was also excellent, as I’ve come to expect from Su over the years. But the sandwich struck me as just a touch bland. I’d like to see the chef add just a bit more spice to it.
The chicken wings, on the flip side, were packed with flavor. It’s hard to pin down exactly what the chef used in seasoning them, but the symphony of tastes is wonderful, with star anise standing out above the crowd.
The only other item on the menu right now is a chopped salad. And the chef is planning to add Cross the Bridge noodles, a popular Yannan spin on chicken soup, as soon as he can find a local noodle producer that meets his standard. But expanding the menu really seems unnecessary. The Hainan chicken rice is the star of the show here, and ordering anything else is just superfluous.
Flock & Fowl is a great, inexpensive addition to its neighborhood. In the same complex as the Golden Steer just west of the Strip, it’s currently only open for lunch five days a week. That’s so the couple can tend to it themselves as it gets off the ground while still paying attention to both Fat Choy and their 3-year-old child. But Su assures me they will be extending those hours shortly. Then I can enjoy their chicken for dinner, as well as lunch.
Al’s Menu Picks
- Hainan chicken rice ($9)
- Mrs. Han’s Secret Recipe Twice-Cooked Chicken Wings ($5 or $8)
Flock & Fowl
380 W. Sahara Ave. Open for lunch 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tue-Sat. FlockandFowl.com