Turns out, I’ve been on the hunt for NYC’s best fried chicken for five years now (that’s one-and-a-half years before I moved here).
This Facebook post from 2009 reminded me how it all began: drooling over Serious Eats’ fried chicken roundup which crowned The Redhead the leader of the fried chicken coop. We would cab it to the East Village just for their chicken, as well as do late-night drive-bys to pick up boxes of the stuff for second dinner.
Little did I know then how fried chicken obsessed I would become.
Fast forward to Friday night and dinner at Sarah Simmons’ Birds & Bubbles, New York’s newest fried chicken haunt. An intimate subterranean spot on the Lower East Side (sit in the outdoor patio while it’s still al fresco dining weather), the fried chicken is some of the city’s best. But make sure you leave rooms for the sides – they’re incredible.
The 48-hour dry-brined chicken is pan-fried (very rare in New York where chefs have been opting for the more convenient deep-fried method). The results are a beautifully flaky coating with perfectly seasoned, juicy white and dark meat.
The half bird, $16, allows you to split some sides. The crispy potato salad is a must: golden potato skins dressed with aioli and herbs. The mac and cheese is creamy and generous, and to counteract the richness, order the baby lettuce salad, with radish, herbed buttermilk and crunchy blue cheese toast.
Despite the cute name, we skipped the bubbles and went straight for the Southern-inspired libations: the Catywampus is a seriously sexy cocktail of bourbon, mezcal, chartreuse, pineapple and jalapeño, and – yes – they know how to mix a perfect Old Fashioned.
Here’s to another five years of fried chicken obsession.
Birds & Bubbles, 100B Forsyth St, between Broome and Grand Sts.