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The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
Flickr/Paul_Lowry

Among iconic American foodstuffs, fried chicken has the ability to generate a particular patriotic zeal, and southerners are by far the most vocal (rightfully so). The dish has a dark past: The beloved cooking technique was introduced to this country by people who found themselves cooking here through no choice of their own. Today the bird is a true art form, and the best examples of the genre are positively addictive, a singular organism of skin and meat fused by hot fat. It's a food that deserves its global stage--excellent variations come by way of Asia and South America--though southern styles are most prevalent in NYC. Here are the 10 best.

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
Feldman

10. Jacob's Pickles, 509 Amsterdam Avenue

With brick walls and brined vegetables, this yuppified Southern/Jewish hybrid has carved a niche for itself that screams "deep fried deli-chic". The best dishes here are the several varieties of fried chicken biscuit sandwiches. Buttermilk-soaked breasts come smothered in mushroom or sausage gravy and topped with fried green tomatoes, bacon, or a fried egg. Our favorite is the honey chicken, the rust-colored paprika-rich crust poking out under a mountain of spicy hot-sour pickles. The top biscuit provides additional crunch; the bottom biscuit is soaked through with honey. She's a knife-and-fork affair, and the pairing just plain works: All that fat needs the pucker-inducing kick of those adulterated cukes.

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
Peaches HotHouse

9. Peaches HotHouse, 415 Tompkins Avenue, Brooklyn

For all of the fried failures with no regional lineage, it's refreshing to get a taste of the heavily spiced Nashville-style hot chicken served at this Bed-Stuy beacon for Southern food. For best results, extra-spicy is the way to go. The cage-free birds are spiced twice during the cooking process and come sporting a greaseless crust so crimson with cayenne that the pieces look downright angry when they arrive at the table. Break through that fiery blockade and you'll find white and dark meat that's as tender as an R&B ballad.

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter

8. Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter, 94 Avenue C

Keedick Coulter's pressure-fried chicken excels in all its knobby, crunchy splendor. Brined in sweet tea, the birds exude a hint of sugar underneath their spiced flour crust, which crackles with each bite. The tender meat comes on the bone paired with rich, flaky biscuits or boneless and sandwiched between grilled buns, where, as tradition dictates, it's topped with bread and butter pickles and nothing else.

 

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
Wasik

7. Sweet Chick, 164 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn

Occupying a former Laundromat, Sweet Chick focuses its energy on pairing brawny, thick-crusted fried chicken with a variety of sweet and savory waffles. Brined until the flesh becomes as soft as the feathers plucked from its body, the birds pack enough flavor all by themselves, but to enjoy these barnyard beauties solo would be missing the point. The light, Belgian-style waffles come unadulterated or sewn through with rosemary and mushrooms or bacon and cheddar for a choose-your-own-adventure that always ends in loosened belt buckles.

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
The Redhead

6. The Redhead, 349 East 13th Street

Chef Meg Grace uses a buttermilk brine for her well-groomed fried chicken, which is expertly-seasoned if a bit gentle on the spice. The meat is tender, the coating greaseless, and between breast, thigh, and leg, there's enough to share (you won't want to, though). Fried crisp, the batter cooks into a shell with noticeable heft that still lets the poultry shine through. Sides change often, from kale salads, baked beans, and jalapeño biscuits to golden brown cornbread.

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
Amy Ruth's

5. Amy Ruth's, 113 West 116th Street

Charming in its down-home intentions, this Harlem fried chicken hotspot in a neighborhood teeming with quality birds gets it right on many levels, including a closing time of 5:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Diners get a choice of dark or white meat as well as the option to smother their guilty consciences in oregano-rich brown gravy. Since this is Harlem, hedge your bets and ask for a waffle under that chicken. The brittle exterior of the starchy confection gives way to a malty sweetness that complements the more savory elements on the plate.

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
Flickr/istolethetv

4. BonChon, 325 Fifth Avenue

One of the various Korean fried chicken outlets that gained prevalence during the mid-2000s, BonChon has only gotten better with age. Although slow by chain restaurant standards, the cooked-to-order fried poultry served here tastes decidedly homemade, with moist dark meat that smacks of deep avian flavor. Both the double-fried wings and sizeable drumsticks exhibit shatter-crisp exteriors, bathed in a choice of sweet soy-garlic or spicy chili glaze.

 

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
Sietsema

3. The Commodore, 366 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn

With an atmosphere that elsewhere might read kitschy in its willingness to play into Williamsburg stereotypes (scrappy dive bar, arcade games, ironic music selections), chef Stephen Tanner's kitchen puts out food that forces you to focus on what's under your nose. A vet of venerable Brooklyn comfort food titans Egg and Pies 'n' Thighs, Tanner offers his crispy specimens--three mammoth thighs--with cups of sweet, peppery vinegar sauce. Better yet, save some of the honey butter from your order of biscuits and apply generously.

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
Sietsema

2. Mitchell's Soul Food, 617A Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn

Hearty, glorious soul food has an ambassador in this restaurant's namesake Johnsie Mitchell, who amps up her crunchy bone-in bird meat with tons of black pepper--the same way she's been cooking it since 1978. Minimal space ensures a busy dining room during primetime hours, but the large portions of inexpensive, prodigious southern classics are more than worth whatever wait you may endure. With Brooklyn gentrifying ever faster, classic establishments like this deserve our attention. Mitchell's is the real deal.

The 10 Best Fried Chickens in NYC
Flickr/Paul_Lowry

1. Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken, 2839-2841 Frederick Douglass Boulevard

Charles Gabriel is fried chicken royalty, and his North Carolina-inspired pan-fried chicken is undoubtedly the best of its kind. In addition to constantly tending to the meat as it cooks, Gabriel seasons his chicken three separate times before it gets to the warming tray at this renowned Harlem buffet. Without a sludgy batter to weigh it down, the chicken--coated in peppery dry rub, moistened with egg wash, and dredged in flour--achieves a thin crust devoid of grease and perfumed with spice. Each bite delivers moist fowl and crackled crust making for a truly rare bird. If you've been scorned by lesser buffets serving heaping piles of depression in their warming trays, the Southern Style Kitchen (its commercial moniker) where Gabriel gets down and dirty will be a revelation.


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Related Locations

miles
Jacob's Pickles

509 Amsterdam Ave.
New York, NY 10024

212-470-5566

www.jacobspickles.com

miles
Peaches HotHouse
miles
Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter
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Sweet Chick

164 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211

347-725-4793

www.sweetchicknyc.com

miles
Amy Ruth's

113 W. 116th St.
New York, NY 10026

212-280-8779

www.amyruthsharlem.com

miles
BonChon Chicken

325 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10016-5038

212-686-8282

www.bonchon.com

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The Commodore

366 Metropolitan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211

718-218-7632

miles
Mitchell Soul Food

617A Vanderbilt Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11238

718-789-3212

miles
Charles Country Pan Fried Chicken

2839 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
New York, NY 10039

212-281-1800


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