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Feb 18, 2007 05:13 PM

Losing my religion (fried chicken)

Let me start by saying that I love fried chicken. nothing beats a light crackly, crunchy crust and moist juicy meat with that brine-y flavor. Yet, I've had trouble finding anything that makes me happy in the city.

Maroon's in chelsea is pretty good. Could've been slightly moister as i think they use pretty large pieces which means the breat piece always gets a bit dry.

Dirty Bird should be a dirty word. The crust falls off of the chicken and is flavorless. The meat itself is mediocre. And it's not cheap for a take-out type place.

I just came back from Rack and Soul. I wanted to like this place. Less than 4 minutes after ordering the fried chicken, the meal came out. That struck me as odd. My wife, who is less confrontational than I, asked me to not say anything. So we proceded to eat barely warm, not crispy chicken that had clearly been sitting around for awhile. I suppose its our fault for not saying anything, but i find it ridiculous that a place known for fried chicken would not make everything fresh.

In fact, i'd say the best "Fried" chicken i've had in the city is from Tebaya in chelsea. Am i crazy? and am I missing anywhere else? I wanted to go to blue smoke tonight for their chicken, but i have a hard time paying over 20 bucks for fried chicken. Looking for someone to give me hope again!

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  1. Have you tried some of the places up in Harlem? I'm no fried chicken expert by any means, but I had some great chicken and waffles at Amy Ruth's. There seems to be an ongoing debate between there and some of the other harlem soul food restaurants. Charles' is also rumored to be pretty good, but I haven't made it there yet and have heard some good things about Miss Mamie's & Miss Maude's. All I hear about Sylvia's is that it's touristy and not what it used to be, but again, this is only what I've heard through others.

    It's a trek to get there, but when I'm craving good fried chicken that's Amy Ruth's is the first place I'd head.

    1. interesting... rack and soul is by charles as well. and after the disappointment today, i'm not likely to try another one of his establishments. anyone else try amy ruth's? Might be worth the try. Although, morningside heights is already a trek so not sure i'm going to go all the way up to harlem unless there's an overwhelming consensus that it is worth trying.

      1. Amy Ruth's has great fried chicken. Here's one thread, but there are many others: It's crisp, fresh, hot, and the chicken is great.
        (And I'd argue that getting to Harlem is a lot easier than getting to Morningside Heights. Amy Ruth's is right off the 2/3 trains).

        There was a post by Jim Leff a couple months ago about Charles and his places. It seems that there are multiple locations and the strategy to finding great chicken is magically ending up where Charles himself is cooking:

        1 Reply
        1. re: rose water

          Unfortunately, I think that's exactly correct. We brought a party to Rack & Soul a month or so after it opened and had what I'd be overstating to say was a lousy meal. There was leftover fried chicken (8 or so CH and other food board members & we only had one order) said it all. And, since a # of us are Charles' fans, we were all certain that he was nowhere to be found on premises. Then, others that I respect went there and Charles was doing the chicken in the kitchen: they all loved the food.

          I never liked Bayou (on Lenox off 125th St) and the owner of that place is the main force (I think) behind R&S. It's uneven & too many people are reporting vastly different experiences for me to try again. However, even when Charles isnt there, hardly anyone has had a bad experience at Charles' original place off Douglass. Go there and check it out.

        2. Yes, it's pricey but the fried chicken is worth it at Blue Smoke. It's always juicy and has never disappointed. What's disappointing is the bbq. What you should not miss is the short rib special they have on Wed and what ever dessert special they have is always delicious.

          Bon Bon Chicken is a Korean fried chicken chain that is suppose to be tasty. They just opened a location in Ktown.

          1. I have mixed feelings about the new Korean fried chicken shops. The flavor is great but the prices are a little high and the service needs to improve. I suspect that the fried chicken chains in Korea don't charge nearly as much as they do in New York. I paid $13.95 for a plate of wings the other day!

            4 Replies
            1. re: buddhadrinksfanta

              I was at Bon Chon, 5th ave btwn 31st and 32nd, last week and thought the chicken was outstanding. The service definitely was spotty and they seemed to get overwhelmed easily. My chicken took about 45 minutes. It was slightly pricey at $14 for a small but there are enough wings and drumsticks to serve two. If you are looking for southern fried chicken with a crispy flour coating, this might not hit the spot though.

              1. re: ESNY

                nice reply, i was going to ask what people think about the new korean fried chicken versus the more-traditional southern fried chicken. i too love fried chicken but have yet to encounter the korean-style in my day to day. anyone know of a korean place that has it in brooklyn?

                1. re: ben61820

                  There are very few (if any) Korean restaurants in Brooklyn, because there are no Korean neighborhoods to support them.

                2. re: ESNY

                  Was at Bon Chon last week as well, with similar experience. My impression was that I was eating really good bar food fried chicken, but it was a far cry from great southern fried chicken.