Archive for May, 2010

Top 10 Fried Chicken

May 13, 2010

I think it’s obvious that I love fried chicken.  My gold standard is a crispy crust and juicy meat.  I don’t care if it’s Southern, Korean, or Japanese.  Here are my favorites, in no particular order:

-Clinton Street Baking Co. – cornbread and cole slaw make a heavenly square meal  

4 Clinton Street, between East Houston and Stanton, Manhattan

-The Redhead – a little more burnished and crusty than Clinton Street.

349 East 13th Street, between First and Second Avenues, Manhattan

-Ruthie’s – not to be mixed up with the one that I couldn’t find in Harlem, I hope this one still exists

560 Myrtle Avenue, between Emerson and Classon, Brooklyn

-Amy Ruth – the Al Sharpton (chicken and waffles) is a sweet and savory dream come true

113 West 116th Street, between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Boulevards

-Charles’ Pan-Fried Chicken – a buffet fit for a fried chicken glutton

2841 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, between 151st and 152nd Streets

-Pies ‘n Thighs – I haven’t been to the new one, but I’m sure it lives up to memory

166 S. 4th Street at Driggs, Brooklyn

-Bonchon Chicken – the double fry cooking process renders off fat to create a pocket of air between the paper thin skin and tender meat, manna in Midtown

207 West 38th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues

-Boom Boom Chicken – like Bonchon, but with a thicker crust

553 Main Street , Fort Lee, New Jersey

-Chiyono – more like perfect McNuggets, incredibly juicy and flavorful

328 East 6th Street, Manhattan

-Kasadela – salt and pepper wings are finger licking good

647 East 11th Street, Manhattan

I’m looking forward to the new wave of fried chicken, if I can ever get a reservation at Momofuku.  And no, I have not yet had the Double Down.

Hoarder’s Remorse – The Fried Chicken Follies

May 11, 2010

I pride myself on my files.  An organized chaos, I can find articles that I’ve kept for years of things to do and places to go.  Trying to capitalize on the riches that I’ve reaped, I’ve made a conscious effort to explore these places by randomly picking the clips from the files.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work out, like when I last went to Flushing to find Bori Gogae.  But when an article from the May 21, 2003 NY Times about Southern fried chicken lists nine places and 8 no longer exist, it’s tragic.  Time to put an expiration date on the files?

The downward spiral of disappointment started with Mama Duke’s.  Praised for its thick, crunchy crust and juicy chicken, I hotly anticipated going, especially since it was allegedly in my backyard in Prospect Heights.  With such proximity, I didn’t bother with the recon, only to walk the street like a lost child.  Logically, if there was this good a fried chicken place that close to me, wouldn’t I know it?  Wouldn’t I have already had it?  It was gone, probably replaced by a lesser, trendier restaurant.  Walking around, I did discover The Cake Ambiance, or Cakelicious, a bakery on the corner of Dean and Flatbush, that I failed to notice had been there for a year.  To console myself, I had a slice of red velvet cake, a confection made further special with a layer of cheesecake sandwiched in between light, pillow-y cake.  An appropriate and tasty, but not fully satisfying substitute for fried chicken.

Further research on the web revealed more shuttering and reshuffling:

-Ruthie’s – gone

-M & G Diner – closed

-Chicken Stop – replaced by trendy restaurant

-Charles Southern Style Kitchen – fried chicken master now at Charles’ Pan-Fried Chicken and Patroon

-Maroon’s – now a Grey Dog Cafe

-Barrow’s Pan Pan – gone

-Soul Food Kitchen – closed

The only place left standing is Amy Ruth in Harlem, and I know it’s good, not just for chicken, but the waffles too.  Charles’ Pan-Fried Chicken is also great, but the buffet-style, Korean deli-like atmosphere leaves me wanting.

Maybe I need to abandon the old, and embrace the new.  The October 5, 2009 issue of New York Magazine has a whole new slew of places to try that are all in business.  Clip clip clip.