I should have blog posts strictly devoted to Random BQE Thoughts. Thats Brooklyn Queens Expressway if you are scoring at home, or if you are alone. As the traffic reaches new levels these days, so are the thoughts. Not exactly inspirational ones. Other than how is the weather and traffic in say, Denver, this time of the year. More like random silly thoughts like: What do you call a female priest? Why do we drive on a parkway and park in a driveway? Why do I eat so much chicken lately? Is something wrong with me? Am I helping the environment by eating more non-farting animals. Is this the first step to vegan? I had plenty of bumper to bumper guards traffic to think about it this week, and I think I know the answer. Its not me, its you, New York City.
Simply put, the city is in the midst of a crazy chicken renaissance. Gone are the days of playing third fiddle to the beef and pig. The competitive nature of the city these days means chefs all over are trying to outdo each other and can not afford any duds on the menu. Chefs realize that while there’s just so much you can do with beef and other ingredients that are best to leave alone sometimes, its the bird that allows for limitless creativity.
There are countless of articles about Best Fried Chicken, Best Roasted Chicken, Best Wings, etc, etc. Many written in the past three years for the reason I just gave. How about one more. A general, unfocused, random one. These are some of the most creative chicken dishes in NYC today.
Home-style Fried Chicken at Ssam Bar (East Village) – Served only for lunch these days this is a fantastic fried chicken reminiscent of the late Ma Peche Habanero chicken. Although not quite Habanero, its ladened with plenty of chili, and double fried to crispy, juicy perfection.
Chicken at FOB Filipino BBQ (Carroll Gardens) – Impossible to select the best from this chicken paradise. You can try the amazing grilled wings, the air chilled grilled chicken, chicken skewers, and Dad’s incredibly moist overnight chicken Adobo.
Big Plate of Chicken With Bone at Jiang Diner (East Village) – This is an instant hit. I’ve seen versions of the dish before at Biang! and Spicy Village but honestly its been so long I forgot how they taste like. I’ve had this twice already at Jiang. Just ignore their other signature dish, “Big Plate of Chicken Without Bone”
Wind Sand Chicken at Pinch Chinese (Soho)– A tasty rendition of a Hong Kong classic. The whole bird is cooked like Peking duck. Two days of Marinating (cinnamon, star anise, other herbs and spices), drying, spanking, repeating. The skin gets thin and crispy, and the flesh redefines moist. Garnished with the sand like fried garlic which gives it the name. Update: Just made resvs for 4 this Saturday night to have this again
White Pepper Wings at Kawi (Hudson Yards) – If you see wings at a Momofuku, pounce on it like your life is depended on it. You just know that wont be boring. You get three whole crispy, peppery, juicy wings. You will not want to wash your hands for a while after this.
Nori Chicken at Ducks Eatery (East Village) – Leave it to smoking wizard Will Horowitz to figure out how to combat our seaweed invasion. Wrap it around smoked chicken and fry it to Korean style thin crisp and extra crunch. Pair it with the incredible smoked carrots.Pollo alla Diavola at Maialino (Gramercy) – In the sea of Roman pastas and other Italian classics, this is possibly the unsung hero. Heck, after all those years, I needed some help from a reliable insider to discover this gem. The peppery ultra moist beauty comes with a tangy sauce you’ll want to scarpetta the heck out of.
Pollo alla Diavola at Dell’anima (Hell’s Kitchen) – Yes, another Diavola on the list but in a much more relaxed setting (Gotham West Market) and easier on the wallet. This one also features extreme moistness and a nice peppery crust, and comes as a Panini as well.
Yellow Chicken at Wayan (Nolita) – a cute name for a suburb chicken curry. About three pieces if I remember correctly. Some got the crunch reminiscent of the great Perry Street chicken where Wayan owner Cedric Vongerichten is still the chef. Why Perry Street is not on the list you ask? I havent been there in over 10 years.
Seco de Pollo at Nano (Hell’s Kitchen) – I’ve mentioned this dish before, and many of you that took my Hell’s Kitchen tour have even experienced it during the last year. The chicken is cooked with Naranjilla a fruit grown in Ecuador, which gives this “stew” unmatched layers of flavor.
So frustrating to read these excellent reviews but there is almost never any mention of where these restaurants are. PLEASE show a simple neighborhood or even address. We now have to search every listing.