Spring Hill’s New Life as Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky

By Kathryn Robinson April 25, 2012 Published in the May 2012 issue of Seattle Met

Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky
4437 California Ave SW, West Seattle,

IN THE SPACE of a single day, chef Mark Fuller transformed his high-end Spring Hill Restaurant into the more affordable, more Hawaiian Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky. It’s still streamlined, still unupholstered, still deafening —but suddenly the West Seattle storefront is more comfortable in its skin. The old menu’s down-market superstars, such as the half-pound beef burger with house bacon and the saimin noodle bowl (with the richest smoked pork and ham broth in town), feel like the heart of a menu that’s come down to their playful level, with plates of Hawaiian fusion like steamed barbecue pork buns with shoyu-harissa dip, or a bun full of Portuguese sausage, pickles, and chicken liver pate. Sometimes giddy combos approach the daft, as when Fuller coats Honeycrisp apple slices with chili sauce and sesame seeds, and serves them with the cured pork called lomo. Chalk it up to the price of innovation—then crunch into another piece of fried chicken. Spring Hill’s weekly fried chicken nights got so famous, Fuller built Ma’ono around them—and now prepares 30 full chickens nightly, each bird serving two. The all-natural birds are brined, soaked in buttermilk, dredged in flour, battered, floured again, fried in peanut oil—and fried again. The result is, well, perfect.

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