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Best fried chicken?

Any recommendations for the best fried chicken in New York, preferably in Manhattan?

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  1. Charles' Southern Kitchen on 8th Ave and 151- hands down. Charles also makes the fried chicken at Rack and Soul on Broadway and 109th. But the chicken uptown always tastes better to me- I believe the chicken at Rack and Soul is made early in the day and reheated. So sometimes its better than other times.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Ann900

      Bon Chon! Korean fried chicken. it's so delicious!

      1. re: Ann900

        I had Rack and Soul 2 nights ago for dinner and chicken was definitely NOT crispy. (Waffle wasnt either). Tasted exactly as Ann posted above--reheated. Will have to give Charles a try now!

        1. re: Ann900

          I would second Charles'. It's quite good. The problem though is you just aren't going to get truly GREAT southern fried chicken in NYC. None of this compares to places down south.

          My favorite kind of fried chicken that I can get in NYC is probably Korean Fried Chicken. Bon Chon is quite good as is UFC (Unidentified Flying Chickens), which is in Queens and is cheaper but just as good.

          1. re: Taylor.Watson

            can you take a group of people for a bday party at charles or is that crazy to do

            dont know the ambience

            1. re: namreb

              You would probably be better off going to Rack and Soul or Amy Ruth's instead. Not a really practical location for a group from what I've seen. I don't think it's particularly special enough for a bday.

        2. The Popeye's at Essex & Delancey, it seems particularly better than others

          10 Replies
          1. re: cmballa

            maybe im just a food snob.....but
            i'm still baffled after all these years when this post comes up and people mention popeyes. Maybe im baffled as i got food posioning from there, or maybe it's because most people who post on this list are seeking something outside of chains. it's like nails on a chalk board when i see Popeye's.

            hands down Charles to answer AMIEBD

            1. re: jb44

              Once in a while a trip to Popeye's can really hit the spot. Spicy and mild breasts and thighs. It can be great.

              1. re: phantomdoc

                yeah but is it chowhound worthy? sure mcdonald's hits the spot during a bad hangover but i wouldn't report on it....now if i went to the burger joint and it was good i would report that (which i did recently!)

                I agree jb44 popeyes is for brutus i mean the birds


                1. re: namreb

                  Even though Popeye's is a chain, their chicken is still pretty darn good. Plus, there are not many places in NYC that have awesome or even memorable fried chicken.

                  See this thread for more: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/428401

                  1. re: mepm231

                    Big Daddy's Diner on Park Avenue South & 19th St. Not greasy, enough to feed 2 people. Comes with salad and fries or tatertots. Yummy!!!

                    1. re: closer53

                      I had the fried chicken at Big Daddy's for lunch today based on your rec, Closer....it was fantastic. Crispy, right amount of spice, and the tater tots were nice and crispy too. And, since it's open 24 hours a day, I'm sure I'll be making a 3 AM stop sometime soon-- I imagine it would be great after a long night of drinking...

                  2. re: namreb

                    Popeye's is thoroughly chow-worthy for Manhattan -- especially the extra spicy. It's just one of those weird things -- like Albertson's making great fried chicken in LA or Costco having good rotisserie chicken.

                    I also like Maroon's in Chelsea.

                    1. re: namreb

                      popeyes and mcdonalds are not on the same level at all. i think popeyes is delish, and not just when hungover. but in fairness, they're not all equal and among popeye's you have to find the good ones.

                      1. re: Adrienne

                        Yeah I have a Popeye's near me, and it's sold about 3 times as far as I can tell. The quality of the chicken has drastically changed depending on who owned/managed it. At it's best, it was about as good if not better then Charles. They hand dip their chicken and fry it fresh. The batter is a mix of course, but the breast pieces were easily a meal with a lot of meat on them. At it's worst, the chicken was rubbery and low grade with a strange extra filmy layer of weirdness between the batter and the meat. The fries were soggy instead of crisp, and well spiced. It's fast food, sure but when they're good they're goood.

                  3. re: jb44

                    I've had Charles (and a few others, the best I've had recently was at Egg in Williamsburg), but I absolutely disagree on your (political) stance against Popeyes. Yes, it's a fast food chain indeed, but the product is simple, executed with rigid consistency, and with fast turnover; it has a reason to be as incredible as it is.

                    I'll leave this thread to Manhattan chicken-related posts though.

                2. I am a HUGE fan of The Pink Teacup. http://www.thepinkteacup.com/
                  I haven't been to Charles, although I have always meant to go. But the Pink Tea Cup always hits the spot when I am looking for that kind of "home cooking." The Fried Chicken & Waffles is one of my favorite breakfasts after a long night.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nycfoodlovingmom

                    You should try amy ruth's. They do a mean chicken an waffles. For pure chicken Charles is my favorite though.

                  2. Piece of Chicken on west 45th, and its pretty good at Blue Smoke!(Only on their dinner menu)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: peachtart

                      IMHO birdies is so so
                      it doesnt have the crispiness of the ultimate fried chix

                    2. Every time the question is asked, Charles gets offered as the answer. I wonder if anyone has been there recently? It's a small steam-table in a restaurant which has low turnover most of the time, so your chicken will have been sitting around getting soggy unless you miraculously show up when a new batch is served.

                      All the branches of Manna's in Harlem are much, much busier and the fried chicken you get will be fresher and crispier than at Charles. The other offerings are better too.

                      Downtown, try Birdie's.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Wilfrid

                        Believe me, the chicken at Charles' does not sit around on the steam table, as you put it (which is why it is never, ever soggy) Charles's take-out operation, which is right next door, is constantly busy to jammed.
                        And even the chicken on the steam table never lasts more than 15 or 20 minutes before they bring out another batch.

                        1. re: Ann900

                          I wish that were true, but I speak from experience.

                          1. re: Ann900

                            I agree with Wilfrid.

                            I was just there a few weeks ago. The chicken was sitting in the case, in a big stack and it was served soggy. Pieces were tiny. Sides looked like they had been sitting too long, drying up with that filmy layer on top. There were no lines, even though the streets were crowded, and there was a performance nearby at Jackie Robinson Park. The only upside is that by the piece a breast piece was only like $1.60 or around that, but it was more like the size of a thigh instead. A small thigh at that.

                            Birdie's is too greasy, and reeks of old oil in my opinion, so in my experience, neither Charles or Birdie's can hold a candle to Amy Ruth's. There might be better chicken out there but I haven't found it.

                            Amy Ruth's is top notch with plump pieces of crispy chicken.

                        2. I had the fried chicken at Delicatessen (Prince and Lafayette) on Sunday. 1/4 chicken is served in a bucket along with a biscuit and a ranch-buttermilk dipping sauce. I thought it was the best fried chicken I have had in NYC. The server said it is the #1 item on the menu. Actually, everyhting we ordered there was great. Good luck!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Mike M

                            Just had it last weekend and I concur. It was absolutely delicious.

                          2. I second the Pink teacup on Grove St. Been going there for 15 years and it never dissapoints. Pork chops and ribs are great too. Until now you could bring your own liquor but they sadly stopped that practice. Not sure why. They do not have a license. But their Iced Tea is very good.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Gossomer

                              Blue Ribbon in Soho has great fried chicken

                                1. re: a_and_w

                                  Blue Ribbon.

                                  However the best fried chicken I have ever had hands down is in Memphis, TN -- Gus's. In some ways it is worth a long weekend to Memphis to get to go.

                              1. re: Gossomer

                                The 2 votes for Pink Teacup have made me want to give it another try. The first time I went for lunch and the crust was soggy but the meat was dry. Must've been sitting around for awhile. Perhaps I caught it on an off day. I find that the quality of the chicken depends on that day's turnover.

                                1. Also - does anyone recommend Amy Ruth's fried chicken?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: apple342

                                    i havent been there in quite a while, but i've been jonesing for it. the honey fried was, as i recall, damned good

                                    1. re: apple342

                                      I was there last weekend and it was great. Not heavily battered but very crisp skin and juicy meat. We had 1 order fried chicken and waffles (dark meat) and one order fried chicken (dark meat) w/ collard greens and fries. Fries were limp and greens nothing to get excited about but the chicken was great.

                                      1. re: Candice

                                        after seeing the health inspector's report which included shutting them down recently, I don't think I'll make the trek from NJ to try it.

                                    2. Here's one more #1 vote for Charles'. You also can't forget the great sides. If they have it you have to get the okra and tomatos. I love their albeit a bit sweet but so buttery yams. Amy Ruths is a good second and more complete dining experience. Note on the steam table issue. Order from the take out counter, not the all you can eat room next door. Although I've never felt the chicken sat to long in the all you can eat room.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: johnindabronx

                                        defintely not the traditional american fried chicken but Tebya on w19th near 6th
                                        makes just about the best fried chicken wings you will find anywhere

                                        1. Thanks to everybody for their suggestions. I went to Rack and Soul a few nights ago and was disappointed by their fried chicken (which is usually my favorite menu item) so I may have to try Charles. Thanks again!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: amiebd

                                            Aren't they owned by the same people?

                                              1. re: Wilfrid

                                                My understanding is that Charles is not one of the owners of Rack and Soul- he has a kind of consultation deal and does the fried chicken. But as I said in an earlier post, I've been told that he makes the chicken early in the day - which is why it is not nearly as good as the chicken uptown.

                                          2. Hands down Georgia's Souther BBQ on Orchard Street has the most crispy on the outside, perfectly hand battered buttermilk crispy outside , super tender and moist inside.
                                            They make it to order, so you can't get it any fresher.
                                            Also, their cheese grits are insane.
                                            it's pretty affordable for the lower east side. I believe it's around 12 bucks and you get 2 sides.

                                            1. Thinking about taking my dad, who loves fried chicken, to the Redhead. I read that their fried chicken was very good. Has anyone had it? How does it compare to other places?

                                              1 Reply
                                                1. In Tribeca, I love Gee Whiz Diners fried chicken. It comes with 4 peices and the meat is juicy with a crispy thin skin.

                                                  1. The BEST fried chicken in NYC is available (for the non-faithful) only at the annual Atlantic Antic in Brooklyn every fall. The ladies at the Baptist church east of Smith on the north side of Atlantic make tons of it. Get the mac and cheese while you are there to.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: hambone

                                                      Please post details when available!!!!!

                                                    2. I just went to Walkers in Tribeca last Friday, not intending to have fried chicken, but once I saw it on the menu, I had to order it (after reading this thread all last week). It was just one big piece of breast, but it was delicious - not oily or greasy, perfectly seasoned, crisly, etc. The waitress informed me that it was a Friday special. Highly recommended (especially when accompanied by a nice, cold Blue Point).

                                                      1. Bon Chon gets my vote for best in Manhattan.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: DarthEater

                                                          Great chicken but truly awful service and bizarre setting at Bon Chon.

                                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                                            Whats so bizarre? Its just another asian bar to me.

                                                            1. re: DarthEater

                                                              Have you been to any other Bon Chon locations (i.e., Queens or LA)? This one is...very different.

                                                            2. re: a_and_w

                                                              ditto. went to the location in the 30s for lunch. completely empty.

                                                              it was upstairs and there was no sign.

                                                              the waiteress gave us a menu, and when we tried to order some starters before the chicken she said, no, we only have chicken (then why give us the menu??)

                                                              but GREAT chicken. AND they deliver

                                                              It's not american fried chicken, though. there is no subsititute for some good southern fried chicken.

                                                              1. re: chrispypanfry

                                                                I rather liked the surprising juxtaposition of great fried chicken and hidden clubby bar. It was not what I was expecting. And I thought I was lost trying to find it. If I had any hesitation, I would have walked away.

                                                                I have to say that this board, although watered down lately with more requests than reports, has rarely let us down. Bon Chon Chicken has some of the best fried chicken we've ever had.

                                                          2. Piece of Chicken off 9th Ave. I think it is 51st. it is take out only. Great for the price.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: btsqnyc

                                                              Finally tried the Mild Fried Chicken at Popeye's since someone on this site mentioned that Popeye's in The South is revered like Starbuck's is in The Northeast. And, ooooohhhh baby - it was goooood! It was also good to be Uptown on a Sunday and check out the fancy Old Timer's dining at the tables after comin' back from Church.

                                                              TRY THIS CHICKEN and...be sure to order the thighs!!! (about $4.50 for two pieces a side and a biscuit)

                                                            2. Georgia's Souther BBQ was awesome! Thanks for suggestion! I had it delivered and it was tasty. The sides were ok. ( i forgot to order the grits)...nothing to write about. The chix was crispy, flavorful and def FRESH!!!!!!

                                                              How is the ambiance at the restaurant? anyone?


                                                              1. Well, here is my two cents... I have tried most if not all of the picks the Chowhounds have posted in reply so far. Charles Southern Fried Chicken WAS the best, but I think it has definitely slipped a notch. Yes, fried chicken "nirvana" does exist, and you don't have to go to 151st to get it. There is one catch though...unfortunately, the best fried chicken currently available for consumption in NYC is not available for lunch...or for dinner...or for take out either....nope...it's free. Free that is, as long as you buy a drink at the bar of this upscale establishment in midtown Manahattan. Do I have your attention now? Run, don't walk, over to Bobby Van's Grill, 135 West 50th Street, and belly up to the bar. Every evening at 6:00 pm (or thereabouts) you will witness a serving cart full of plastic cereal bowls being wheeled in. These bowls, full of free finger lickin' good fowl are distributed across the length of the bar to encourage your thirst. My friends, this chicken is AWESOME! After you take your first bite, with its subtle unique flavor, I think you'll agree it was worth the $8.00 beer to sample. You'll need to eat fast though, because it goes quickly, and once it's gone there will be no more until the next evening. Oh, and don't bother asking the bartender if they will please add it to the menu or let you take an order to go... they won't. I'll see you there.

                                                                1. Has anyone been to Wu Liangen Yu, which is at 36 W. 48th in Manhattan? The NY Times raved about their fried chicken...

                                                                  1. went to Amy Ruth's this weekend....the honey friend chicken was ranked up there as top five i have ever tasted.....

                                                                    Probably the best....

                                                                    I didn't try it plain to compare with Charles.....but this was good...

                                                                    sides were ok....

                                                                    cheesy grits lacked flavor, no sides wow'd me

                                                                    1. Best Fried Chicken? I'll get shot for saying this, but the Chicken "Fingers" at the KFC (when fresh and not sitting for hours) on 14th St off 2nd Ave is actually pretty good. They use the Original Recipe instead of the rather dry Extra Crispy recipe found at most KFC's.....still with me? On a more upscale note: City Bakery in Manhattan on 18th street b'tween 5th and 6th Avenue....and once you're there you'll discover other cool offerings like Pretzel Croissants. If you can catch them when still warm out of the oven they melt in your mouth. I was actually one of the first patrons there when they opened about 18 years ago. Discovered this truly amazing place 'cause the contractors who built the original space on 17th street shared office space with me. Enjoy!