Some call them “chicken tenders,” while others prefer the terms “chicken fingers” or “chicken strips.” Whatever phrase you use, you’ll fall for the varied versions of battered, deep-fried, boneless chicken available at these five restaurants. By Jessica Allen.
Hill Country Chicken
The Texas Tenders at Hill Country Chicken are big, really big, and totally juicy. How does something so crisp and so large stay so moist on the inside? We’ll likely never know, but that doesn’t stop us from ordering a few more in the name of research. The chicken comes with ranch, barbecue, or honey mustard sauce. You might also consider an order of blistered corn salad, hand-cut fries, and a pie cup. We’re particularly partial to the cowboy pie, a blend of coconut, pecans, dark chocolate, and butterscotch chips.
Sticky’s Finger Joint
Sticky’s Finger Joint bills itself as “New York’s first variety gourmet chicken fingers joint.” It uses hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken, with ingredients a six-year-old could pronounce. Among the restaurant’s offerings are the classic, breaded, uber-moist chicken, the General Sticky Tso, with chili peppers, soy sauce, and honey, and the salted caramel (pictured), in which the boneless strips are dipped in caramel, then covered with pretzels and pretzel salt. Make sure to get a side of the salty, crunchy string beans too.
Bareburger might specialize in burgers, but this restaurant with multiple locations around town does a mean chicken finger. The panko-crusted chicken tenders come with not one, not two, but four dipping sauces: smokehouse sauce (similar to ketchup), stone ground honey mustard, and thai chili mayo. During happy hour, the chicken tenders and other snacks, including onion rings, sweet potato croqs, and fries are half-off. Whatever you order, it will be all-natural and organic. There are drink specials too.
A Salt & Battery
The folks at A Salt & Battery sure know their way around a fryer. Nestled among other British specialty shops and restaurants in the West Village, A Salt & Battery offers authentic fish and chips, using locally grown, sustainable products. “In cad we trust” goes the slogan. You can also get battered sausage, “a load of shrimp,” battered beets, onion rings, scallops, a deep-fried Mars bar, and chicken chunks, golden brown nuggets of pure white meat. Whatever else you order from the long list of fried items, do not—repeat DO NOT—call them fries.
Dirty Bird To Go
Often called “the best fried chicken in Chelsea,” the crispy bird served at Dirty Bird To Go would be among the best no matter where the restaurant was located. Your chicken strips come with housemade BBQ sauce or honey dijon, and you can get such sides as cole slaw, sauteed garlic kale (if you need a veg to offset the protein), or cornbread. If you’re super-hungry or feeding a family, order the 15-pieces-with-four-sides special for $36.85. Conclude your meal with a pack of “freshly baked bad-ass cookies.”