Does this place deep in Inwood and a stone’s throw from the Harlem River make the best FC in Gotham?
When Sunday at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. the Daily News put up its estimation of the best fried chicken in town, I jumped on the list right away. Or at least when I read about it at Eater. Fork in the Road takes interest in such lists, as evidenced by Our 10 Best Fried Chickens, which we put up in December 2009. It’s probably in need of revising, especially since two places in the runners-up category have closed, and one in the top 10 has closed and then reopened.
The Daily News mentioned three places as being superior, and two of those we have no quarrel with: Rack & Soul on the upper Upper West Side, and Peaches HotHouse in Bed-Stuy. Now the bombshell: In screaming headlines the piece announced the best fried chicken in the city (and hence a contender for Best in the Universe) was John’s Fried Chicken in Inwood, with an appealing photo to prove it.
Well, I’ve got news for the News: John’s isn’t best in the city, not by a long shot. It’s good, no doubt, but the skin is a little cardboardy and the bird under-salted. The three pieces I got (No. 1 combo: wing, thigh, and drumstick, $3.99) were very fresh-tasting. Now, it’s pretty obvious this is a Dominican spot, so I’d hoped to be enjoying the vinegary tang of the legendary chicharron de pollo, which is a traditional Dominican dish in which the poultry is soaked for a while in white vinegar, a real Spanish touch, but the sourness at John’s went missing.
Nevertheless, I applaud the Daily News piece and its intrepid authors, Amanda P. Sidman and Jacob E. Osterhout, for ferreting out a good source of cheap fried chicken for northern Manhattan. I just wouldn’t travel from Cooper Square to get it.
It’s good, but maybe not that good.
John’s Fried Chicken
512 West 207th Street
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 20, 2011