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May 16, 2007 07:29 AM

Pies 'n' Thighs Review

I first tried Pies 'n' Thighs not long after they opened last year, and I really enjoyed the food there the handful of times I visited last summer. I haven't been back to the area in quite awhile, but found myself hungry in Greenpoint this past Saturday and with a car at my disposal decided to forego my usual Polish food indulgence and drive over to South Williamsburg with my mother in tow.

I debated long and hard between ordering the catfish "box" or the pulled pork "box," and in the end the pork won out. I opted for potato salad along with my sandwich and a slice of key lime pie for dessert. My mother went for the fried chicken box with collard greens and a slice of key lime as well. Our responses couldn't have been more polar opposite.

My sandwich was better than I remembered. The pork was juicy and moist and smoky - and there was a lot of it (enough to share a few choice bits with my drooling dog!), the vinegar BBQ sauce was tangy but not overpowering and had a hint of spicy kick. It was a bit chilly Saturday evening, so we had opted for take out and drove our dinner home. The roll was a little soggy after it's long trip back to Northern Manhattan, but it was soggy with delicious pork juices and didn't bother me much. I don't remember the pulled pork being served with pickle AND coleslaw last summer, just coleslaw, but the pickles were a wonderful addition. My potato salad tasted homemade in the best possible way, it actually tasted a lot like my own potato salad, and the side serving was enormous; there was enough for a small serving the next day. And I continue to contend that Pies 'n' Thighs serves one of the best key lime pies I've ever had anywhere: creamy, tart, little bits of grated lime rind, crumbly graham cracker crust with just a hint of extra brown on the edges.

My mother had an entirely different experience. Her three pieces of fried chicken were dry as dry can be, more like chicken jerky with a batter crust. It was a serious bummer as the chicken filled the car with absolutely glorious food smells on the drive home, and made us so hungry we were ready to drop in the sidewalk and eat on our laps by the time we got home. I thought she was exaggerating, as she's prone to hyperbole, but I tried a bit of the chicken, and it was indeed quite dry and unappetizing. She didn't like the greens either, I'm not much of a collard green eating type, so I really had no basis for comparison. Her meal was so disappointing she didn't even really enjoy the pie. Ironically we both find it hard to enjoy a rich dessert without a good meal in our bellies!

Oh! And the hush puppies I loved so much last summer were gone from the menu! I would have sorely missed them if my potato salad hadn't been so good.

Anybody else with recent reports to share? I still haven't tried brunch, and now I'm afraid I will have a hard time convincing my mother (and partner in most of my dining crimes) to join me!

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  1. i've been going regularly for brunch. it's as good as ever, i think. my favorites are the biscuits and gravy with a side of scrambled eggs and the catfish and grits.

    1. i've been getting takeout from P&T every wednesday because my kids have gymnsatics class nearby.
      I've only had the chicken once and it was juicy and good. Had the chicken biscuit last week, which i've had before, but last week the chicken in it was kind of overcooked and dry. Perhaps there's a new (bad) chicken cook at P&T?
      I find the sides there incredible--the pinto beans are amazing. will have to try the potato salad. I passed on it last week because it didn't have egg, and i like my potato salad with egg, but i'm willing to try it.
      My friend always gets the pulled pork and she loves it. I think it's good, but as an NC native it just doesn't live up to my ideal.
      Anyway, i'm going tonight--will get the fried chicken for my daughter and me (son loves the burger, which is quite good, as are the fries) and report back.
      Have never tried the pies there--or any dessert besides a doughnut, which i found heavy and disappointing. Some of the pies look great; others only so-so. As a pie baker, i find it hard to order pies out, but that's another issue entirely.

      as an aside, and since you live in manhattan you may never be in the area, but one of the best fried chicken and potato salads i've had in NYC was at mitchell's on vanderbilt ave in prospect heights, brooklyn. A fried chicken dinner with the potato salad and the stewed okra with corn and tomaotes is a little piece of heaven.

      4 Replies
      1. re: missmasala

        the donuts are a lot tastier as donut holes. the full-size version isn't moist enough. that said, if you don't like cake donuts then you probably won't like these whatever the shape.

        1. re: missmasala

          missmasala, the potato salad most certainly had slivered wedges of hard boiled egg in it! Give it a try, it was excellent. Thanks for the recommendation for Mitchell's. If I find myself around there, I shall certainly check it out.

          When I was there on Saturday they were assembling strawberry shortcakes at the counter. They looked great, but they were using biscuits rather than shortcakes, and I find their biscuits to have a bit too much of that baking soda taste. Reminds me a bit of when my grandmother would make a quickbread that was a bit off (which was not often, but when it happened she would go on and on and on about it with every bite, describing in detail that slight gritty bitterness, so I developed an ability to recognize it).

          1. re: ballulah

            well, i asked them last week and they said no egg, and then i got it tonight and there was definitely no egg. slivered wedges of sweet onion, but no egg. it was good, though.

            had the fried chicken, which was great, not dried out at all, so that must be variable, depending on the cook and their oil, etc.

            they accidentally gave me baked beans instead of the pinto beans, which were okay but not as good as the pinto.

            also got a pulled pork sandwich--but it just doesn't do it for me. some of the pork is tough and the sauce is not nuanced enough.

            tried the mac and cheese for the first time, which i thought would be great because of the way they warm each order up in the pan, but it was underwhelming also.

            And my friend bought a doughnut, which i tried, but still found it heavy and dry. Though i will admit that i prefer yeast doughnuts to cake.

            I do like the place, but i will stick to the fried chicken and the pinto beans, i think.

            i like key lime pie but i'm not crazy about it. one day i'll try it. it would have to be a lot better than one i could make myself for me to want to order it a lot, though.

            in general, i think there are some consistency issues at P&T.

            1. re: missmasala

              I had the fried chicken box a few nights ago, with potato salad (definitely no egg) and a side of cheese grits. The largest piece of chicken was a little dry. The smaller pieces were very moist and tasty. I thought the breading had a slight sweetness to it, which I liked. I also loved the cheese grits and enjoyed a taste of my husband's macaroni and cheese (with a little tangy hot sauce in it?) and the biscuit was good, but I was not impressed by the potato salad. It wasn't terrible, but I thought it was very bland.

        2. I've had mixed experiences with the non-pie food, but I agree about the key lime pie. I've had slices from previously uncut pies, I've had the last slice hanging around in the pan, I've ordered whole pies to bring home. It is always amazing, probably the best desert I've ever had in my life. I want some now....

          1. I've found their pulled pork to be consistently good to great, if one likes Carolina style vinegar sauced BBQ. Perhaps not up to N.C. standards, but as good as I've had in NYC. But other main dishes have been far less consistent in my experience. I've gotten dry chicken, and over-cooked greasy fish, on occasion. My guess is that the heat of the oil in their friers is perhaps not consistent and creates variable outcomes.

            I like their sides, and especially those beans. But their take on greens (one of my favorite foods on earth) is very down-home and although I like 'em I'm sure often seems watery and stringy to folks around here. I prefer the greens at Ruthie's or Smoke Joint (one of the best things they do there).

            1. I really liked the breakfast here. You know how you can tell when eggs are made with love, this place had it. i recomend coming here when ever you want a good old fashioned american meal

              1 Reply
              1. re: timmytimmy

                What time do they open for brunch?