My girlfriend and I spent a couple days in NYC a few weeks ago and we made reservations for a lunch at Barbuto. I've been a fan of JW from his Top Chef Masters seasons and, being a fan of Flay's cuisine I was eager to try out his mentor's restaurant. I have heard and read from the 'who's who' that he arguably does the best chicken in the US so I didn't even bother looking at the menu when we arrived.
Look, I get simple, but this chicken was so absolutely pedestrian in my eyes. The fact that I was in NYC, a place that I sort of consider to be the 'major leagues' of cuisine, I absolutely expect properly executed food, and yes, the bird was juicy and the skin had crunch, but that's all I really have to say that's positive. The salsa verde felt flat for me and subsequently the bird felt underseasoned (not sure if the capers were supposed to add the salty component). There were no salt and pepper seasoned underneath the skin. I was hoping the chicken would take on a subtle smoke taste from the wood burning oven but I didn't get that.
Epically disappointing for me. Maybe I got too worked up about a chicken - I mean, it's a chicken, how memorable can chicken be? I just feel I have come awfully damn close, if not fully replicating the juiciness and crispiness at home and I think anyone with an instant read thermometer and the know how to make a quick brine could do the same. I expected more for a $19 half-chicken with no sides.
775 Washington St., New York, NY 10014