Night Heron, the year-old concept from Agricole Hospitality, has quickly become a Montrose staple. The casual eatery with a year-round patio sits at the corner of a quiet residential street flanked by oak trees and bungalows. There’s a laid back vibe that lends itself to happy hour and brunch, though a full-course dinner can also be enjoyed. Both the cocktail and dining menus feature classics modernized with a global twist.
The expansive and innovative drink selection—the restaurant group’s forte—is something to marvel at, but the brief, single-page food menu (separated into snacks, sharables, and full size) steals the show. Seasonal dishes rotate on and off the menu, but one item has remained, unchanged, since Night Heron’s opening: the turmeric chicken frites.
The dish’s execution is simple but flawless. A plate piled with thin strips of white meat chicken marinated in buttermilk, lightly battered, and fried to golden perfection. The batter is crisp but not tooth-chippingly crunchy and clings to the meat without sloughing off, which preserves the tenderness and moisture of the chicken.
Seasoning is also minimal, but by no means lacking in flavor. Though turmeric is in the name of the dish, the spice is a subtle undertone. Dill, sprigs of which generously garnish the plate, becomes the herb that permeates. Flakes of salt that dissolve on the tongue lend to an overall savoriness while a yogurt based dipping sauce adds a tangy zest that enriches the flavor.
Pair with another shareable menu item—the fried potatoes—and you get an adult version of a childhood favorite: chicken strips and french fries. The fried potatoes, dusted with mild Massaman curry and served with house ketchup, have crispy-crackly skins and velvety middles. The two plates are filling enough for a complete meal or can be split as an appetizer among table mates. Careful though, these addicting chicken strips can be hard to share.