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Willing to make time to try NYC's BEST Southern Fried Chicken - But Where??!!

Charles Yu Feb 9, 2012 03:47 PM

Hello chow friends!

Its 'Yu' again!

I love crispy, crunchy, salty and savory food and I LOVE Southern Style Fried Chicken. Unfortunately, great tasting fried chicken is a very rare commodity here in Toronto. As such, for my upcoming short trip to NYC, I have fine-tuned my itinerary to allow me to go and find me some!

I have done a little research and come up with the following list:

- Amy Ruth's
- Birdies
- Chat 'n' Chow
- Dirty Bird to go
- Margie's Red Rose
- The Pink Tea Cup
- Rack & Soul
- The Shark Bar Restaurant

Of the above, with my limited time, which one shall I pick to satisfy my craving and provide me with a lasting impression?! Did I miss any?!

BTW, how safe is it for one to head up to Harlem and beyond, these days??!!

Thanks again!!

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  1. sgordon RE: Charles Yu Feb 9, 2012 04:06 PM

    First, Harlem's fine.

    Second, Charles' Country Pan-Fried Chicken. Amy Ruth's is pretty good, too, especially if you want waffles with your chicken - the "Al Sharpton" is a heckuva meal.

    Third, if you're willing venture to Brooklyn, Henry's End in Brooklyn Heights makes one of the best plates of fried chicken in the city. They're known for other things - wild game, mainly - but their FC is unjustly overlooked.

    Charles' Country Pan-Fried Chicken
    2837 8th Ave, New York, NY 10039

    Amy Ruth's
    113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

    1. m
      MRS RE: Charles Yu Feb 9, 2012 04:12 PM

      We loved the fried chicken at The Redhead!

      The Redhead
      349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

      1. k
        kathryn RE: Charles Yu Feb 9, 2012 04:38 PM

        Our favorite these days is Pies 'n' Thighs in Williamsburg, very convenient to Manhattan.

        I love Amy Ruth's, too, but more for their fried chicken and waffles! Don't ignore the waffles!

        Amy Ruth's
        113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn
          foodwhisperer RE: kathryn Feb 9, 2012 08:30 PM

          I'm glad no one said Bubby's, that chicken is so overrated . I like the chicken Southern fried Chicken at Georgia's BBQ on LES. The ribs are great too

          Georgia's Eastside BBQ
          192 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

        2. r
          RGR RE: Charles Yu Feb 9, 2012 08:30 PM

          We went to The Dutch for lunch specifically to have the fried chicken. It did not disappoint.

          Photo of The Dutch's Fried Chicken: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...


          The Dutch
          131 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

          21 Replies
          1. re: RGR
            sgordon RE: RGR Feb 10, 2012 10:07 AM

            I have to say, I found The Dutch's fried chicken - while it had excellent crunch:moist ratio - a little bland and underseasoned. I like everything else I've had there, but the FC left me underwhelmed.

            Also, forgot to mention: Peels' fried chicken is great, though it's not classic Southern-style a la Charles' or Amy Ruth's. But their "build-a-biscuit" with fried chicken, scrambled eggs, and red-eye gravy has become a favorite brunch of mine.

            Amy Ruth's
            113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

            325 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

            The Dutch
            131 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

            1. re: sgordon
              fm1963 RE: sgordon Feb 10, 2012 10:18 AM

              I felt the same way about the fried chicken at The Dutch in Miami. I'm assuming that they used the same recipe as The Dutch in Soho, but maybe I'm wrong.

              I liked the fried chicken at Blue Ribbon Brasserie though I can't claim that it's the best since I haven't been to most of the places mentioned in this thread.

              Underwhelmed with Red Rooster, but others seem to like it.

              Blue Ribbon Brasserie
              97 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

              Red Rooster
              310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

              1. re: fm1963
                tpigeon RE: fm1963 Feb 10, 2012 08:20 PM

                I agree with you FM on the Dutch in Miami btw. The fried chicken is fantastic. It has been way too long since I have visited charles but still consider it a favorite.

                1. re: fm1963
                  UWSHomeCook RE: fm1963 Feb 14, 2012 12:10 PM

                  I thought I was the ONLY one who was underwhelmed by the fried chicken at Red Rooster. In fact, I was underwhelmed with all of the food. The cocktails were tasty though.

                  Red Rooster
                  310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

                  1. re: UWSHomeCook
                    Ottojr RE: UWSHomeCook Oct 9, 2012 11:40 AM

                    Disappointed to hear that you were underwhelmed at Red Rooster. Well that saves me having to make a trip out of Manhattan.

                    1. re: Ottojr
                      GaryUES RE: Ottojr Oct 9, 2012 04:26 PM

                      Perhaps this is a post from outside NYC. Many people would be offended to see Harlem described as "out of Manhattan".

                      1. re: GaryUES
                        rose water RE: GaryUES Oct 9, 2012 04:47 PM

                        And it's inaccurate. Not only is Harlem part of Manhattan, but from the 2/3 right outside Red Rooster you can be just about anywhere downtown in like 15 minutes.

                2. re: sgordon
                  Charles Yu RE: sgordon Feb 10, 2012 04:33 PM

                  Interesting how so many fried chicken places manage to create excellent crunch/moist ratio but fell short on the 'seasoning' side!! Unfortunately, all Toronto fried chicken places are like that??! Sometimes, I even find 'freshly made' KFC tasted better!! I hope the best of NYC taste better?!

                  1. re: Charles Yu
                    RGR RE: Charles Yu Feb 10, 2012 07:53 PM

                    I know it's considered non-Chowhoundish to like a chain chicken, but I really like Popeye's.


                    1. re: RGR
                      Charles Yu RE: RGR Feb 10, 2012 08:03 PM

                      That we have in Toronto!. Tasted kind of bland to me though!
                      Actually, I prefer the 'old style' KFC freshly out of the cooker. Unfortunately, nowadays, with 'healthier' oil being used, the taste is no longer the same!

                      1. re: RGR
                        foodwhisperer RE: RGR Feb 10, 2012 09:36 PM

                        I think any restaurant is Chowhoundish. We all have to eat, sometimes we are in a rush , sometimes chains are convenient. Popeyes happens to have good fried chicken, better than KFC and Roy Rogers. Now , if we start talking about White Castle chicken rings, i may start getting nauseous ,,haha,,

                        1. re: RGR
                          Phil Ogelos RE: RGR Feb 11, 2012 07:44 AM

                          I fully expect to see your terrible confession emblazoned on the cover of the next "National Enquirer" (with salacious pictures attached, of course! ;)

                          1. re: Phil Ogelos
                            RGR RE: Phil Ogelos Feb 11, 2012 09:09 AM


                            LOL! The last time we ate at Popeye's, I did consider taking photos to post on my Flick but resisted the urge. But next time.... ;)


                            Haven't had KFC in ages, but I agree that Popeye's is better. Never tried Roy Rogers.

                            Btw, we've tried the fried chicken at Hll Country Chicken, and I didn't like it.


                            1. re: RGR
                              betsydiver RE: RGR Oct 9, 2012 11:53 AM

                              i always enjoy popeye's or used to since there is none around where i currently live in upstate ny

                          2. re: RGR
                            lexismore RE: RGR Feb 13, 2012 08:39 AM

                            I completely agree. I haven't tried it everywhere, but I much prefer Popeye's to a lot of non-chain fried chicken, such as The Dutch and Hill Country Chicken.

                            1. re: RGR
                              ellenost RE: RGR Feb 13, 2012 08:47 AM

                              My sister considers Popeye's the best fried chicken anywhere (of course it helps that their Lexington Ave. location is on her way home from work ;-)).

                            2. re: Charles Yu
                              kathryn RE: Charles Yu Feb 10, 2012 08:12 PM

                              For me, the issue is the chicken being dry by the time you get to the center of a white meat piece. The Dutch & Pies 'n' Thighs definitely do not suffer from this issue.

                            3. re: sgordon
                              JoanN RE: sgordon Jun 28, 2013 11:36 AM

                              Friend and I had a hankering for fried chicken and I combed these boards looking for recommendations. I’ve had fried chicken at Charles’s in Harlem (not great when I was there, but I hear it can vary), Maroon’s (late, lamented), Henry’s End (in Brooklyn; always satisfying, but a little heavy on the nutmeg), Hill Country (not worth passing up the meat for), Blue Ribbon (too long ago to remember, but never went back for it), both Bon Chon (now Mad for Chicken) and KyoChon (the first, several times), and Popeye’s (right up there among my favorites). Haven’t been to either Red Rooster or The Dutch, but decided to try Peel’s.

                              The chicken, three pieces, was very crisp and greaseless with a dark brown crust in which I think I detected a hint of cayenne. The meat of the breast was almost unbelievably juicy and had real flavor; you could tell it had been brined, I’m guessing in buttermilk. The chicken was served with an excellent biscuit and a small container of honey. I thought it among the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

                              My friend and I shared an appetizer of fried green tomatoes. The tomatoes were sliced so thin, it was almost like eating crispy crust with just a hint of filling. These were borderline addictive. They were served with a superfluous remoulade and some lemon wedges. The spritz of lemon was more than sufficient.

                              This is not a regular indulgence so it may be a while before I have a chance to compare it with some of the other restaurants that have received good reviews here. But I’ll tell you, when that hankering returns, it’s going to be hard not to go back to Peel’s.

                              1. re: JoanN
                                Peter Cuce RE: JoanN Jun 28, 2013 11:50 AM

                                Great post. Thanks for the update. I have a friend leaving New York, and she's been looking for great fried chicken, so I will send her there.

                                1. re: JoanN
                                  Elisa515 RE: JoanN Jun 28, 2013 03:07 PM

                                  Where is Peel's?

                                  1. re: Elisa515
                                    JoanN RE: Elisa515 Jun 28, 2013 03:10 PM

                                    325 Bowery @ 2nd

                            4. GoodGravy RE: Charles Yu Feb 9, 2012 10:27 PM

                              Red Rooster and Georgia's East Side BBQ are tasty. If you have time, try to squeeze in some Korean fried chicken too.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: GoodGravy
                                foodwhisperer RE: GoodGravy Feb 15, 2012 04:17 PM

                                i was browsing the CH posts to help me decide what to eat tonite.Something easy , tasty and with a counter or bar. I just decided. Georgia's for what I think is the best ribs and chicken.

                              2. a
                                angelhair RE: Charles Yu Feb 10, 2012 06:33 AM

                                I would stick with Korean fried chicken. I've never found really outstanding southern fried chicken in New York and I say that as someone who grew up in the south. Pies 'n Thighs especially disappoints. It's greasy, flabby, the crust is bland. There is plenty of great Korean fried chicken in the city, though.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: angelhair
                                  Phil Ogelos RE: angelhair Feb 10, 2012 06:35 AM

                                  Where, where, angelhair?
                                  do tell.

                                  1. re: Phil Ogelos
                                    Bkeats RE: Phil Ogelos Feb 10, 2012 07:53 AM

                                    I was going to go with the real KFC - Korean Fried Chicken too! I like BonChon. Spectacularly good crust.

                                    Bon Chon Chicken
                                    325 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                2. t
                                  tex.s.toast RE: Charles Yu Feb 10, 2012 11:46 AM

                                  Since this thread has strayed from southern fried chicken ill put in a pitch for Ippudo's fried chicken appetizer. i might have been in the wrong mood for soup but it stands out as being better than the ramen i had on my last visit.

                                  also, in bklyn, Van Horn Sandwich shop's friend chicken sandwich is awesome (also available not in a bun, i believe)

                                  65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                  1. n
                                    niajoy RE: Charles Yu Feb 11, 2012 09:03 AM

                                    As someone who regularly makes fried chicken the way my southern grandmother taught me, I think that "Southern Fried Chicken" is subjective based on region/family preferences. Some people put real heat in the seasoning, some do honey dips, it all varies. If I am paying for someone else's chicken, I'd suggest heading up to Charles' Country Pan Friend Chicken in Harlem. It is similar to what my husband and I both grew up eating.

                                    Charles' Country Pan-Fried Chicken
                                    2837 8th Ave, New York, NY 10039

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: niajoy
                                      Ann900 RE: niajoy Feb 11, 2012 09:50 AM

                                      Charles Gabriel - aka CHARLES' Country Pan Fried Chicken in Harlem- does the fried chicken at Raxck and Soul- Boadway and 109th St on weekends-usually Fri and Sat.
                                      I love the chicken at Red Rooster and Redhead, but for me, Charles is the absolute master of fried chicken..
                                      If you go, call first to make sure he's cooking (when he's not , Rack and Soul's fried chicken is not special).
                                      FYI- Shark Bar has been closed for some time .

                                      Rack & Soul
                                      258 West 109th St., New York, NY 10025

                                      The Redhead
                                      349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                                      Red Rooster
                                      310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

                                    2. r
                                      randymac88 RE: Charles Yu Feb 11, 2012 09:55 AM

                                      Surprised to see Hill Country Chicken not mentioned...two different preparations and it's excellent. Of those mentioned on the original list, I've had Birdies which I thought was terrible, and Dirty Bird that was pretty unremarkable as well.

                                      149 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                      Dirty Bird
                                      204 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

                                      Hill Country Chicken
                                      1123 Broadway, New York, NY 10010

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: randymac88
                                        RGR RE: randymac88 Feb 11, 2012 11:21 AM

                                        I mentioned Hil Country Chicken in my last post upthread. I didn't think either preparation was good.


                                      2. r
                                        rossnyc RE: Charles Yu Feb 11, 2012 10:24 AM

                                        I haven't tried it in a few years, but I was amazed how great Virgil's fried chicken in Time
                                        Square is.

                                        Virgil's Real Barbecue
                                        152 W 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: rossnyc
                                          robinsilver RE: rossnyc Nov 26, 2012 12:39 PM

                                          So glad you liked the fried chicken at Virgil's. I am taking my 90 year old mother to a Barry Manilow concert that is at the St James, on 44th between Broadway and 8th, so don't want to have to walk to far with her, so was thinking about Virgil's. She loves ribs, and fried chicken, and I love fried chicken. I know I can get better barbeque, h*ll, I can make much better barbeque, or my husband can anyway, but seeing as I have judged many barbeque contests with lousy barbeque, the thing here is location, location, location.

                                        2. prima RE: Charles Yu Feb 13, 2012 07:53 AM

                                          If you were taking a 20something tourist out for fried chicken, and had narrowed the choices down to Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Hill Country or the Redhead (due to their locations), which restaurant would you choose?

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: prima
                                            GoodGravy RE: prima Feb 13, 2012 08:14 AM

                                            I would split them into 3 groups and send them all to get enough fried chicken for a taste test.

                                            1. re: GoodGravy
                                              prima RE: GoodGravy Feb 13, 2012 08:55 AM

                                              I'm only taking one 20something tourist out for fried chicken. I might do my own staggered taste test over several visits, but will probably only eat fried chicken once on this visit. :-)

                                            2. re: prima
                                              villainx RE: prima Feb 13, 2012 08:52 AM

                                              Blue Ribbon is fantastic, but mega long wait. The other two are also great. Hill Country is huge space, so you probably can go in and out fairly quick. I like Redhead a lot and it's a go to place for me, but I live not far from there.

                                              1. re: villainx
                                                prima RE: villainx Feb 13, 2012 08:54 AM

                                                thanks, villainx ;-)

                                              2. re: prima
                                                kathryn RE: prima Feb 13, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                Hill County Chicken is set up fast food style.

                                                For table service, do one of the other two. Don't forget there's also Blue Ribbon Bakery in the West Village, where the wait will likely be shorter than the Brasserie in Soho.

                                                Blue Ribbon Bakery
                                                33 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

                                                1. re: kathryn
                                                  prima RE: kathryn Feb 13, 2012 09:10 AM

                                                  thanks, Kathryn!

                                                  Happy to see Blue Ribbon Bakery is also open for lunch, and has their fried chicken on the lunch menu. http://www.blueribbonrestaurants.com/...

                                                2. re: prima
                                                  Miss Needle RE: prima Feb 13, 2012 01:15 PM

                                                  I'd probably opt for Blue Ribbon or Redhead as they are in locations that a 20-something year old tourist would find fun -- Soho and East Village, respectively. That said, they both do a mean fried chicken.

                                                  1. re: Miss Needle
                                                    lucyj RE: Miss Needle Feb 14, 2012 06:32 AM

                                                    Haven't had it at Blue Ribbon but I really enjoy fried chicken at the Redhead

                                                    1. re: lucyj
                                                      prima RE: lucyj Feb 14, 2012 07:36 AM

                                                      Thanks lucyj & Miss Needle.

                                                3. ChefJune RE: Charles Yu Feb 14, 2012 08:04 AM

                                                  I'm not sure why you'd be looking for "great fried chicken" in New York! New Orleans, Atlanta, Charleston, DC.... even Chicago.

                                                  I live here, and I NEVER think of looking for good fried chicken.

                                                  That said, Harlem is well on its way to being gentrified (I don't think that's fine), but that is how it is. No more safety problems there than in any other neighborhood in Manhattan.

                                                  Oh, and you left Red Rooster off your list. Samuelsson is serving some delicious yardbird.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: ChefJune
                                                    ImStillHungry RE: ChefJune Feb 14, 2012 09:55 AM

                                                    No one has mentioned the fried chicken dinner at Momofuku Noodle Bar. It'll give you an awesome Korean and traditional fried chicken to taste. I love this but have tried it with only four people and it's way too much food for four. I would recommend 6 people.


                                                    Momofuku Noodle Bar
                                                    171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                                    1. re: ImStillHungry
                                                      ellenost RE: ImStillHungry Feb 14, 2012 11:07 AM

                                                      The Noodle Bar fried chicken (both varieties) is excellent. Agree that it is too much food for 4 people.

                                                      1. re: ImStillHungry
                                                        kathryn RE: ImStillHungry Feb 14, 2012 01:11 PM

                                                        I thought the traditional fried chicken was only OK during my fried chicken dinner there. So if that's what the OP wants, it may not be the best place to go.

                                                        1. re: ImStillHungry
                                                          lucyj RE: ImStillHungry Feb 14, 2012 03:04 PM

                                                          I thought the regular form the fried chicken dinner was better than ok but not as good as some of the other places mentioned (a little too salty if I remember correctly) although with all of the sauces and "components" you almost don't notice the quality of the fried chicken as much. If you love fried chicken I think it's still worth it for the overall experience.

                                                          1. re: ImStillHungry
                                                            mahler5 RE: ImStillHungry Feb 15, 2012 04:28 PM

                                                            Even for 6, you need 6 big eaters! The Korean chicken is unspeakably delicious.

                                                          2. re: ChefJune
                                                            Charles Yu RE: ChefJune Feb 14, 2012 04:40 PM

                                                            Nothing decent up here in Toronto!!

                                                          3. i8NYC RE: Charles Yu Feb 14, 2012 08:56 PM

                                                            The Cardinal

                                                            The Cardinal
                                                            234 E 4th St, New York, NY 10009

                                                            1. s
                                                              stylish99 RE: Charles Yu Nov 28, 2012 08:21 AM

                                                              This may be too late for your trip, but for the record, the fried chicken and cornbread at Delicatessen (54 Prince, near Lafayette) are divine! You wouldn't know it by the super chic and trendy atmosphere, but they make some serious comfort food there. Highly recommended!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: stylish99
                                                                i8NYC RE: stylish99 Dec 1, 2012 05:45 AM

                                                                The Cardinal, Pies & Thighs have great fried chicken

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