Slideshow: Watch Chef J.J. Johnson Make Fried Guinea Hen at The Cecil

Fried Guinea Hen
Fried Guinea Hen

"There's no way we're doing fried chicken," is what chef J.J. Johnson told his partner Alexander Smalls when designing the menu for the Cecil. But while on a recent trip to Ghana, the pair came up with the idea of doing a fried Guinea hen instead, a bird native to Africa. The deep pink meat is paired with other Ghanaian flavors—roasted white sweet potatoes, okra, pickles, and a cinnamon-based spice mixture.

Brine
Brine

The bird starts off with a 48 hour brine in a salt water solution seasoned with cinnamon. The brine is key to ensuring that the lean breast meat doesn't dry out during its trip through the fryer.

Brined fowl
Brined fowl

Each order comes with a full breast and leg. After brining, Chef Johnson breaks down the bird and dries off the individual pieces.

Into the fryer
Into the fryer

The fowl goes into the fryer immediately after dredging where it fries for exactly 12 minutes.

Ready to plate
Ready to plate

The ultra-thin and crisp seasoned coating delivers a true Southern-style crust to the chicken, the kind where the breading and the skin have fused into one, an effect that Ed refers to as "Cosmic Oneness."

Plating
Plating