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Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

Who wouldn't want this Peruvian rotisserie bird from Inca Chicken? And it comes with fries.

Chicken is such a versatile bird! While McDonald's tries to disguise it, the yardbird's nature keeps asserting itself again and again. The skin is great, the organs are great, the appendages better than other animal appendages. Our love for chicken is undying, and luckily there are a zillion ways to prepare it. Here are our favorite examples.

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

10. Rotisserie Bird at Inca Chicken -- Nothing beats the flavor and convenience of Peruvian poultry kickin' it on the rotisserie. The strange and sweet spice rub is reputed to be of Chinese origin, but the excellent green dipping sauce must come from another planet at this colorful Bushwick dispensary, right across the street from the troubled Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. 122 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-366-3763

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

9. Barbecued Chicken at John Brown Smokehouse -- Let's face it, chickens in a wood-burning barbecue usually turn out nicely smoky but badly rubbery. At Long Island City's John Brown, your expectations will be exploded by a near-perfect bird with a mild spice rub and skin that you want to eat, rather than discard. And if there were any left over, it would make a very nice sandwich the next day. 25-08 37th Avenue, Queens, 718-361-0085

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

8. Roti Canai at Banana Leaf -- Nothing beats the fleecy pancake sided with a wonderful, coconut-milk-laced chicken curry at this newish Sunset Park Malaysian. The bird is tender and the curry slightly spicy, cut by the flaky unctuousness of the pancake. And other fine forms of chicken abound here. 5216 Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-851-3818

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

Enjoying dinner at Banana Leaf -- the excellent Hakka Chicken is in the center of the table.

 

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

7. Fried Chicken at Sol de Quito -- A café straight from Quito, Ecuador, might not be the first place you'd look for great fried chicken, but remember that Bushwick is the chicken capital of the city. The bird parts here are lightly floured, then assertively fried to a pleasing darkness, so that the poultry flavor predominates, and the gratis salad makes a nice contrast. 160 Irving Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-417-4174

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

6. Fried Chicken at the Cardinal -- If you wanted the country's best fried chicken, where would you go? North Carolina, of course, and the Cardinal seeks to reproduce that cuisine lock, stock, and barrel of barbecue sauce. The chicken here is of the cornflake-crusted school, like KFC's extra crispy, only a thousand times better. Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. 234 East 4th Street, 212-995-8600

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

5. Kufta at Indian Clove -- Maybe you wouldn't expect it, but one of the city's best eclectic, slightly upscale South Asian restaurants is located in the Staten Island outback. That Indian Clove chooses to make its luscious ground-meat kufta out of chicken is a tribute to the bird. And roasting in the tandoori oven imparts a spectacularly smoky flavor. 1180 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, 718-442-5100

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

The modernistic interior of Indian Clove

 

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

4. Pickled Chicken Feet at Hunan Kitchen -- Elegant in their rubberiness, tender yet resisting the teeth slightly, not like a rubber band but not unlike it either, these avian appendages are knocked into orbit by a sour, pickle-y taste and a creeping hotness caused by the crushed red chilies. Throw away that fried chicken and take a wok on the wild side. 42-47 Main Street, Queens, 718-389-8100

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

3. Kai Yang at Zabb Elee -- This mighty signature of Thai Isaan cooking -- issuing from the northeastern region of the country, near the Mekong River -- is available few places in the city. It's rare even in the Isaan cafés of central Queens. The bird is moist and tasting of its citrusy marinade, with two hot sauces on the side. You really won't need that knife -- other than to stab your dining companions so you can enjoy the entire portion. 75 Second Avenue, 212-505-9533

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

2. Buffalo Wings at Old Town Bar -- You want conventional Buffalo chicken wings, moderately spicy and furnished with celery sticks and blue cheese? Moreover, do you want them in the original old-men's-bar context that they were invented for? Experience the entire package at Old Town, a bar that also boasts extensive literary connections. 45 East 18th Street, 212-529-6732

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

Is that Kevin Smith outside the Old Town Bar?

 

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

1. Big Tray Chicken at He Nan Taste -- This is the chicken I dream about, the chicken I return to eat again and again. I bring friends here when they arrive in town to eat this wok-ful of irregular bony bird parts swimming in so much chili oil you could light lamps with it across the city. And after the initial burn, the Sichuan peppercorns kick in, in this specialty of the province of Henan, not to be confused with Hunan. Oh, and there are some random potatoes floating around in there, too. Eat it with the house-made flatbreads. 68 Forsyth Street, 212-625-8299; or at Henan Feng Wei, 136-31 41st Avenue, Queens, 718-762-1818

Our 10 Best Chicken Dishes in NYC

Some friends of Fork in the Road at Henan Feng Wei, in Flushing

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Henan Feng Wei

136-31 41st Ave.
Flushing, NY 11355

718-762-1818

miles
Spicy Village

68 Forsyth St.
New York, NY 10002

212-625-8299

miles
John Brown Smokehouse
miles
Banana Leaf - Closed

5216 8th Ave.
New York, NY 11220

718-851-3818

miles
Sol De Quito

189 Irving Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11237

718-417-4174

miles
The Cardinal

234 E. 4th St.
New York, NY 10009

212-995-8600

www.thecardinalnyc.com

miles
Hunan Kitchen
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Zabb Elee

75 Second Ave.
New York, NY 10003

212-505-9533

www.zabbelee.com

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Old Town Bar & Restaurant

45 E. 18th St.
New York, NY 10003

212-529-6732

www.oldtownbar.com


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