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Roasted Chicken?

This is my favorite meal and a barometer for a restaurant. I find that many new american bistro type of places are thowing it on the menu with some fingerlings and brussel sprouts, but the chicken is dry or rubbery, with no crispy skin.

Any recommendations for places in NY? I am visiting from Chicago in 6 weeks and it is in my list to try a great roast chicken.


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  1. Commerce has one that is unbelieveable.

    EMP has the best one I've ever had.

    Both are for two people.

    9 Replies
      1. re: rapsrealm

        Not sure if it is still on the menu, but when my wife and I were in town last October, we had it for one of our lunches there ... the $28 2-course prix fixe.

        Seriously, it was just ... heavenly. I'm drooling at the thought.

        1. re: a213b

          Going there with the BF on Friday for lunch, now I'm intrigued. What's so special about it? How is it prepared?

          1. re: janethepain

            From my notes:

            Organic Milk Fed Chicken Roasted with Lemon, Rosemary and Black Truffles – Oh.My.God. Shut up. Seriously, I am speechless. PHENOMENAL!! Such a crisp skin, LOVED the stuffing underneath it, and so succulent and juicy! Blows Commerce’s out of the water, because it doesn’t need rich Foie to put it over the top … it is on it’s own. Breast Served with Jus and black truffles, I wanted to marry this. Seriously, the best I’ve ever had, bar none. Loved how the wing/leg was cooked into a (can't remember the word, RGR?), so rich and creamy.

            1. re: a213b

              hmmm, it sounds good. the reason i hesitate is because roast chicken always seems like such a throwaway item on menus, something there to please the picky eater who won't eat anything else. that's why i avoid it most times, and the last thing i want is a boring, dry piece of chicken breast. I much prefer lamb or duck, say.

              but if it's something that EMP does in a standout way, then I'd definitely consider it. I'm trying to plan my whole meal in advance - might have to do a 3-course lunch.

              1. re: janethepain

                I agree, and I pretty much NEVER order chicken at restaurants. But when I was at EMP for lunch that time (having eaten there more than a few times), I asked what our Captain would recommend, and with no hesitation whatsoever he said the roast chicken. Went on to say how fabulous it was, and since we had already eaten many of the other options that were currently on the menu, we went for it ... and it was truly fantastic.

                1. re: janethepain

                  I'm also one of those who rarely orders chicken in restaurants. However, roasted chickens at EMP are always extraordinary! We've had the guinea hen, the organic chicken, and the Blue Foot.

                  Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                  1. re: RGR

                    Pretty funny, I had been stalking your EMP photos on Flickr to see what menu items looked like. Thanks for these links.

                    So would you recommend the chicken over, say, the lamb chop or the pork? Those were the other 2nd courses I was considering. As an aside, i usually like the 1st course/appetizer dishes better at "fancy" restaurants - more interesting, and not just a hunk of meat with a side and veg.

                    1. re: janethepain

                      You're welcome! And I appreciate the Flickr traffic. :)

                      I adore lamb in any way, shape, or form, so I'd choose it over the pork. To be honest, my husband ordered the current pork dish and while he loved it, the taste I had didn't bowl me over the way Chef Humm's other pork dishes have. But if you love pork more than lamb, then go for it. You also have to consider that since the chicken is for two, both you and your dining companion have to like chicken and prefer it over the other options.

      2. barbuto is known for their roast chicken...and deservedly so. i never used to order roast chicken until i had it at barbuto. its in a garlic and lemon sauce that is unreal.

        freemans has a great roast chicken as well.

        3 Replies
          1. re: chow_gal

            also, the chicken at northern spy food co is excellent too.

            1. re: chow_gal

              Third vote for Barbuto's. I am also one of those never-order-chicken people, but its really worth it here.

          2. For my birthday last night, I dined at Apiary and had the pre-fixe with the chicken, and I have to say it was probably the best, most tender and moist and flavorful chicken I've ever had in a restaurant! The portion was HUGE as well, and I'm looking forward to eating the leftovers this evening!

            60 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

            2 Replies
              1. re: drumwine

                I third Apiary - best chicken Ive had out at a restaurant, hands down.

            1. Pio Pio.. still has one the best chickens i have ever tasted.

              it's quite a different dining experience then EMP but you will love it.. trust me

              Pio Pio
              210 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

              1 Reply
              1. re: eelinthecity

                Quite different than EMP may be the understatement of the year. If you do go dont forget the green sauce

              2. Waldy Malouf's 10-herb chicken at Beacon. You can vet a home version of the recipe here:


                At Beacon it's wood-fire cooked.


                1 Reply
                1. re: Peter Cherches

                  Locanda Verde in Tribeca has an amazing garlic chicken for 2, i believe it's about $20 per person and served with delicious vegestables.

                2. Rye in Williamsburg has the best roast chicken dish I've had. I enjoyed it even more than the one at EMP, although it's far more basic. Very juicy on the inside with crisp skin. Also enjoyed Le Cirque's roast chicken from their restaurant week menu 2 years ago. I'm pretty sure it's a regular item.

                  Le Cirque Restaurant
                  150 E 58th St Ste 1402, New York, NY 10155

                  1. I NEVER order chicken, roasted or otherwise, at restaurants. Not sure why, but I tend to go with more 'interesting' choices.

                    That said, I had a very, very good lemon & coriander rubbed roast chicken. It was excellent.

                    6 Replies
                      1. re: uwsister

                        OH, duh. Sorry -- massive brainfart '-D. It was at Back Forty, on recommendation on this board. Really, really good!

                        Back Forty
                        190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

                        1. re: linguafood

                          Thank you everyone for the suggestions. I must disagree thought that chicken cannot be "interesting".

                          I am thinking it is down to barbuto and apiary. I would love to go to EMP, but we are only doing one really nice meal on our trip.
                          I was looking for a notch down form there. that is why Pio Pio interested me.

                          Pio Pio
                          210 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

                          1. re: chiguy13

                            Not meaning to be snarky, but Pio Pio is a lot more than "a notch down" from EMP.

                            If it fits your budget, you might consider doing EMP's 2 for $28 lunch. The chicken for two is on th menu, and there's no supplement.


                            When we ate at Apiary, it was one of the rare occasions when I ordered chicken in a restaurant. The reason I did so is that the chef is Scott Bryan, who was for many years the executive chef at Veritas, one of our favorites. No surprise that his roasted chicken in superb.

                            Apiary photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                            1. re: RGR

                              Pio Pio has a good roast chicken as far as roast chicken goes, but it's nothing that will change your life.

                              EMP's on the other hand... I'm lunching there on Friday and hopefully their version will.

                              Pio Pio
                              210 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

                              1. re: janethepain

                                If you can please take some pictures :O) I'm excited to hear your report on this dish.

                    1. Reporting back re: the roast chicken at EMP. Very good - in its current incarnation, there's a layer of brioche stuffed under the skin that soaks up all the juices and transforms the chicken. Really good. Then the dark meat parts are cooked and served separately in a fricasee. The menu calls it "Roasted organic chicken with lemon and rosemary" - I swear, they must have made this description incredibly bare-bones and uninteresting-sounding on purpose. Definitely worthy of consideration, and I'll say that I never order chicken breast on a menu.

                      Thanks for the recs RGR and a213b!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: janethepain

                        Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it so much, and thanks for reporting back!

                        1. re: janethepain

                          You're very welcome, Jane! Glad you enjoyed the chicken.

                          Descriptions on menus, especially in upscale restaurants, often do not tell the whole story. We just had lunch at Jean Georges, and we had a dish where the sauce was described simply as "buttermilk." Rest assured it was way more exciting than that one word would makes it seem. Fabulous, actually.

                          1. re: janethepain

                            This makes me want to go to to EMP for lunch ASAP! Thanks for the report. The chicken sounds amazing, and I don't ever order chicken at restaurants either.

                            1. re: uwsister

                              Crazy huh? If you do go, remember to bring a partner - it's roast chicken for two.

                              Funny thing is, the waiter came with the entire roast chicken and said "well I'm going to put it down so you guys can pick at it like this." I was like "ok!" and started making room on the table. Turned out he was kidding.

                            1. i dont do roast chicken too much
                              but my favorites are craft, locanda verde, and pio pio (i've only tried the ones in queens) in that order