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America's Best Fried Chicken

Max's Wine Dive, Austin

Courtesy of Max's Wine Dive

Max’s Wine Dive, Austin

Chefs who try to fancify lowbrow food warrant suspicion but not immediate dismissal. Max’s Wine Dive in Austin is a perfect example of why checking it out is smart. Advertised awkwardly as “upscale comfort food,” its fried chicken is better described as Tex-Mex soul. Cooks soak the chicken for 24 to 36 hours in a jalapeño buttermilk marinade before deep-frying to order, which allows just enough kick to pair surprisingly well with a flute of champagne. Yes, Max’s Wine Dive is the kind of joint where ordering a glass of bubbly with fried chicken is par for the course.

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