Open 24 hours, New Caporal has long served the fried chicken needs of Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights, and its logo is a cowboy chick standing on a clump of foliage with a blazing pistol.
Almost everybody loves fried chicken. The dish was brought to America by enslaved persons from West Africa during our colonial era, and quickly became one of the shining standards of the national cuisine.
The best Soul Food joints in town make fried chicken the way its been done for over 200 years: with just a dusting of flour on the surface of the bird, exercising constant vigilance to keep the skin intact during cooking. Thus, the skin provides the crunch, without the excess encumbrance of heavy breading.
The recipe has gone all over the world, and now many ethnicities make their own fried chicken–the Koreans with sugar and crushed chiles, the Chinese with ground-up cornflakes as the coating. The Japanese make excellent fried chicken cut up into small pieces, while the Dominicans often dip their bird in vinegar prior to frying.
Here, then, are Our 10 Best Fried Chickens, with a passel of runners-up. Feel free to disagree with our list by providing your own favorites on the last page.
Next: the runners-up
A half chicken at Happy Garden in the Bronx will set you back only $3.50, handily qualifying it as Incredibly Cheap Eats.
Runners-Up to Our 10 Best
Yafa Deli (Middle Eastern), 907 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718- 789-8630; Dirty Bird to Go (New American), 204 West 14th Street, 212-620-4836; Saratoga Country Kitchen (Soul Food), 1991 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-498-0200; Mad For Chicken (Korean), 314 Fifth Avenue, 212-221-2222; Rack & Soul (Soul Food), 2818 Broadway, 212-222-4800; Tblisi (Georgian), 811 Kings Highway, 718-382-6485; Ruthie’s (Soul Food), 96 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-246-5189; New Caporal Fried Chicken (Dominican), 3772 Broadway, 212-862-8986; Qasim (Pakistani), 338 Ninth Avenue, 212-695-6556; Chat ‘n’ Chew (Diner), 10 East 16th Street, 212-243-1616; The Soul Spot, 302 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-596-9933
Next: numbers 6 through 10
Saratoga Country Kitchen recreates the Harlem classic chicken and waffles.
Numbers 6 through 10
10. Margie’s Red Rose Diner (Soul Food), 275 West 144th Street, 212-491-3665
9. KyoChon (Korean), 156-50 Northern Boulevard, Queens, 718-939-3002
8. Soul Fixin’s (Soul Food), 225 West 28th Street, 212-736-1345
7. The Obama Flavor (Soul Food & Jamaican), 267 Troy Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-221-2202
6. Arkansas Fried Chicken (Afghan), 778 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx, 718-901-5444
Next: the top 5
Charles got his start making chicken in the back of a van, which would park in various empty lots around Harlem. In that incarnation, it was one of Jim Leff’s original Chowhound “finds.”
The Top 5
5. Corn Bread Diner (Soul Food), 1436 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-484-2424
4. Mitchell’s Soul Food (Soul Food), 617A Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-789-3212
3. En Japanese Brasserie, 435 Hudson Street, 212-647-9196
2. Happy Garden (Chinese), 1236 Spofford Road, Bronx, 718-617-1818
1. Charles Country Pan Fried Chicken (Soul Food), 2839 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, 212-281-1800
Next: our readers’ suggestions
This Hunt’s Point Chinese restaurant nearly made our list.
Tebaya, 144 W 19th Street, 212-924-3335
Blue smoke, 116 E 27th Street, 212-447-7733
Kentucky Fried Chicken (everywhere, alas)
Popeye’s (spicy dark only)
Brother Jimmy’s (various locations in Manhattan)
Redhead, 349 East 13th Street, 212-533-6212