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Sep 9, 2008 01:31 PM

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 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:

                  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, 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.
                  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.