Long a staple of picnics and potlucks, fried chicken has moved onto the menu at many New York City restaurants. In some cases, the ultimate comfort food has gone upscale; other places practically demand that you lick your fingers right at the table. Each restaurant on our list, though, serves a really good fried bird. By Jessica Allen.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Momofuku Noodle Bar offers a veritable fried chicken bonanza. It must be ordered in advance, serves four to eight people, and costs $100. But it comes with two whole fried chickens, one done Korean style (triple fried, with a spicy glaze) and one done Southern style (dipped in both buttermilk and a batter made from Old Bay seasoning). Sides include basil, baby carrots, Bibb lettuce, radishes, shiso leaves, mu shu pancakes, and four types of dipping sauces. Reservations required (no walk-ins for fried chicken allowed).
Recently featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, this Brooklyn restaurant hasn’t let fame go to its, well, thighs. Instead, Pies-n-Thighs still serves the Southern-inflected slow food for which it’s known, including fried chicken (sometimes with waffles). What began as six seats in a dive bar has grown into a full-service restaurant in a former carriage house. But don’t let the fancy location fool you: the chicken, fixin’s like biscuits and gravy, and, of course, pies in such flavors as bourbon pecan will still make you smack your lips with glee.
Hill Country Chicken
An offshoot of the popular bastion of barbecue Hill Country down the street, Hill Country Chicken calls itself “a fresh fried chicken joint.” Inspired by the owner’s memories of his Texas childhood, this Flatiron restaurant features several types of fried chicken: drum, breast, thigh, or wing, prepared with the classic recipe (skin-on, double-coated, seasoned with the signature shake) or the family recipe (skinless with a cracker crust). Grab a pie milkshake (ice cream blended with the pie of the day) to really go all out.
Dirty Bird To-Go
Choices for chicken at Dirty Bird include slow-roasted rotisserie, chicken tenders with housemade honey dijon or BBQ sauce, and buttermilk-dipped fried chicken. Each and every one started out on a farm in Pennsylvania Amish Country, free of antibiotics and gorging on veggies. To drink, try the signature “dirty palmer,” half lemonade, half peach iced tea; for dessert, try the “bad-ass cookies,” including chocolate chip. As you might expect from the name, this is a takeout counter, but there are plenty of parks near the Chelsea and Tribeca locations in which to feed your face.
Questlove, aka Ahmir Khalib Thompson, is a Renaissance man. In addition to being a sought-after musician, he is an eloquent writer and memoirist—and he makes terrific fried chicken. Shortly after he competed with David Chang (who owns Momofuku Noodle Bar, detailed above) for fried chicken supremacy on Jimmy Fallon, Questlove opened Hybird in Chelsea Market. This takeaway spot has drumsticks, dumplings, biscuits, special fruity drinks, cupcakes, and the chance to see the man behind the bird himself.