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The Usual’s Fried Chicken Stands Out in Crowded NYC Market, Critic Says

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Plus, Jay-Z sent $60K worth of champagne to Fat Joe — and more intel

Fried chicken
The Usual’s fried chicken
Photo by Louise Palmberg

Alvin Cailan’s fried chicken is stand-out, critic says

New Yorker’s critic Hannah Goldfield files a dispatch from the Usual, the new Nolita fried chicken restaurant from LA chef Alvin Cailan. It’s the first full-service restaurant for the chef, who’s better known for egg sandwich shop Eggslut, and Goldfield “marvelled at the mountainous cragginess of the exceptionally thick, crispy crust, and at the carnal pleasure of the fat it had absorbed in the fryer, cut with a sprinkling of zingy Cajun herbs and spices.” The rest of the menu is unsurprising, she writes, but the fried chicken stands out.

Review of a tiny Japanese curry counter in East Village

Meanwhile, Ligaya Mishan of the Times writes about the extremely romantic-sounding Suki, a six-seat East Village restaurant where chef Kelly Cho doesn’t open until her curry is perfect. Cho builds the curry from scratch, even making her own butter, and cayenne gets added by preference. It comes with rice, as a dip with pork katsu, and in ramen and udon. Mishan finds the “most comforting” to be yaki curry, a dish where rice and curry are “baked in a casserole under a thatch of mozzarella, Cheddar and colby.”

Fat Joe celebrates at 40/40 with the help of Jay-Zand Cynthia Nixon bartends in Astoria

Rapper Fat Joe spent his 48th birthday at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club, along with a celebrity-packed crew including Tiffany Haddish, Ja Rule, and Mary J. Blige. Jay wasn’t on site but surprised the birthday boy with 10 bottles of champagne, each costing $6,000. Over in Astoria, gubernatorial candidate and actress Cynthia Nixon had a more low-key night at Katch, where she was helping fundraise for state senate candidate Jessica Ramos. Nixon jumped behind the bar at the event.

Here’s how Harlem feels about Shake Shack’s opening in neighborhood

Harlem’s first Shake Shack will soon open, but the owner of nearby Harlem Burger Co. says “I don’t foresee it having a big impact on our sales.” Alper Uyanik notes that it will always be harder for a small business like his versus a global chain like Shake Shack, especially since his restaurant must charge more, but his restaurant is far enough away to not be too concerned. Regulars of Harlem Shake seem to think the local favorite will be fine, too, and other locals seem downright excited to have Shake Shack as an option.

Founding chef leaves fast-casual Italian spot the Sosta

Pink-swaddled fast-casual Italian spot the Sosta no longer has its founding chef, Ali LaRaia. The chef, who hadn’t opened a restaurant before the Nolita pasta restaurant, has left for northern California. The restaurant is part of behemoth ESquared, and the founder’s daughter Samantha Wasser, who co-founded the Sosta and vegan hit By Chloe, remains at the Sosta.

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