The dish ($16) is a perfect example of Convivial's marriage of the food of France, Maupillier's native country, and America, his adopted home. Coq au vin is a classic French dish in which chicken -- traditionally old, tougher roosters -- is braised in red wine with mushrooms, onions and bacon. Maupillier's twist swaps in fried chicken for the slow-cooked meat.
Maupillier cites Korean fried chicken as the inspiration for the boneless thighs he pressure-fries in canola oil. To preserve the crust -- which reminded us, in the best possible way, of the breading on the Arby's chicken tenders of our youth -- the chef drizzles a reduced coq au vin glaze on top rather than placing the meat in the soupier setting of its classic predecessor. Also adorning the glossy pile: pleasantly plump and tender mushrooms, potatoes, shallot and carrots, plus a little lardon.
The fried chicken has been the runaway hit at Maupillier's first restaurant as a majority owner. (He's still attached to Mintwood Place as its executive chef.) In fact, most tables are ordering the dish.
"People really love it," he said.
Convivial, 801 O St. NW. 202-525-2870. convivialdc.com.