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An entire grilled chicken cut up with pita.
Chirping Chicken’s grilled chicken
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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10 Great Chicken Dishes Still Available in NYC

Fried, grilled, or soaked with spicy sauce, here are some of critic Robert Sietsema’s favorite chicken dishes available right now

What is it about chicken that makes anyone who’s feeling under the weather crave it? Along with pierogies, congee, and Mom’s recipe for dal, it’s one of the world’s great comfort foods, whether poached, fried, souped, sauteed, baked, or stir-fried. And chicken is ubiquitous in nearly every culinary culture. Yes, it was an object of contempt among upmarket chefs and restaurateurs a few years ago, so that when they deigned to include it on a menu, they tended to make it boring on purpose. But now chicken has been re-elevated to its homely and versatile glory. Here are 10 of the top chicken dishes currently available.

Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken’s fried chicken

Starting out as a truck that parked various places around Harlem 30 years ago, Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken is the city’s reigning king of fried chicken. Sure, it’s got smothered chicken and barbecued chicken, too, but the pan-fried version is exceptional because it really is fried the old-fashioned way, in cast-iron skillets. The sides are great, running to yams, collards, mac and cheese, and coleslaw. Call (212) 281-1800 to order ahead, or just walk in. 2461 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, between 132nd and 133rd streets, Harlem

Two pieces of fried chicken on a white plate with collards, mac and cheese, and a biscuit Robert Sietsema/Eater

Indika House’s chicken gassi

There are perhaps a dozen chicken dishes on the menu of this Bushwick Indian newcomer under the J tracks that came into existence just before the virus hit. The most glorious I’ve tried is a regional dish, rare in the city, called chicken gassi, a recipe attributed to the southwest city of Mangalore. The chicken pieces lurk in a delightfully dense and spicy sauce thickened with coconut milk and laced with tamarind, which gives it a sweet and tart edge. And no dish except perhaps chicken chettinad (also on the menu) gives you such a clear idea of the flavor differences between northern and southern Indian curries. Call (718) 484-3600 to order. 943 Broadway, at Myrtle Avenue, Bushwick

A chicken curry in a metal bowl with a yellowish cast. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Georgian House’s chicken tabaka

Restaurants from the country of Georgia often list many comforting chicken dishes, and Georgian House in Brighton Beach is no exception. You can pick sacivi (chicken in walnut sauce), a chicken soup thickened with eggs called chikhirtma, or a tomatoey stew called chokhokhbili. But mother of all Georgian poultry is chicken tabaka, featuring a flattened chicken with very crisp skin done to a deep brown with virtually no breading and a hint of garlic that’s midway between baked and fried in taste. The flesh remains supremely moist rather than drying out. Call (718) 759-6555 for pickup or order online. 129 Brighton 1st Street, between Brighton Beach and Ocean View avenues, Brighton Beach

Crisp skinned chicken in a bowl with a boat or red sauce on the side. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Factory Tamal’s chicken tamal

What could be a better hand-held meal than a couple of chicken tamales? At Factory Tamal, with branches on the Lower East Side and in the East Village, there are various chicken panini and tortas, tamales filled with chicken and chiles, and sometimes a marvelous chicken soup on the menu, but best of all is the tamal (or tamale, both are correct singular forms) made with chicken dunked in mole poblano, making the filling dark and amazingly flavorful, with hints of nuts and chocolate. Call (917) 691-5524 to order. 34 Ludlow Street, between Hester and Grand streets, Lower East Side

A chicken mole tamale. Robert Sietsema/Eater

SriPraPhai’s chicken satays

Peanut sauce makes everything taste better, right? Well, the peanut sauce that comes with Sripraphai’s flattened and carefully grilled satays is beyond superb. Laced with coconut milk and chiles, it thickly coats these chicken brochettes, so that there won’t be anything left in the sauce bowl when the last bite of the last satay is finished. Hopefully, the flower-bedecked back garden will soon be open for socially responsible dining. Order online. 64-13 39th Avenue, between 64th and 65th streets, Woodside

Chicken brochettes served with peanut sauce. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Chirping Chicken’s whole chicken

The flame-grilled chicken chain was founded on the Upper West Side in 1982, and currently claims six branches in Manhattan. I recently rode to the Upper East Side Branch on Second Avenue to procure a whole chicken with sides to provide a picnic for nearby Carl Schurz Park, which offers views of the churning East River. The chicken was deeply brown with moist flesh and the skin tasted of oregano and lemon, putting this style of chicken very much in the Greek camp. The sides are forgettable, but so what? The chicken with fries or the pitas it comes with make a splendid meal. Order online. 1560 Second Avenue, at 81st Street, Upper East Side

Frangos’s chicken piri-piri

Chicken piri-piri is a Portuguese classic, adapted from recipes that originated in the colony of Angola. The name is also code for “spicy as hell,” and now Frangos has brought the dish to Avenue B in the East Village. The restaurant offers all sorts of chicken meal deals, many feeding an entire family, with a choice of four coatings, of which an order of random wings is available featuring all of the sauces. But my favorite is the original piri piri, which is red and tart and packs a real spice wallop. Call 917-675-7897 to order. 182 Avenue B, between 11th and 12th streets, East Village

A whole red Portuguese chicken splayed on a blue mottled platter. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Bobwhite Lunch Counter’s fried chicken

Really, this Alphabet City place does fried chicken and little else. It’s easy to swoop in; grab a box, which includes one side; and head over to Tompkins Square for a feast. The chicken has a concentrated flavor, nothing like supermarket chickens, and the breading is thick enough to crackle when bitten into, yet not thick enough to interfere with the enjoyment of the chicken. The sides can be spectacular, too, especially the hot sauce-laced mac and cheese. Order online. 94 Avenue C, between 6th and 7th streets, East Village

Fried chicken and a biscuit in a box with slaw on the side. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Curry in a Hurry’s tandoori chicken

When it opened in 1976, Curry in a Hurry was the first Indian restaurant in the neighborhood that’s come to be known affectionately as Curry Hill. Now there are almost 25, but this remains one of the best. It was also one of the first places to introduce tandoori chicken to the city back in the 1980s, and that tandoori chicken is still fantastic, colored an unrepentant bright red. The flesh pulls off in flavorful strips, and since it’s sold with no rice or side dishes, grab yourself a garlic naan to go with it. Order online. 110 Lexington Avenue, at 28th Street, Murray Hill

Two pieces of red tandoori chicken. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Le Coq Rico’s roast chicken

Searching for some upscale fowl, whether for a picnic or a simple French meal at home? Le Coq Rico has been roasting pedigreed chickens on 20th Street since 2016 and serving them in an elegant dining room. Now for a little less than $100, an entire giant brune landaise bird is available, poached and then roasted to a perfect shade of brown, for curbside pickup. French sides and desserts such as petits pois, crisp maitake mushrooms, and a Valrhona chocolate tart can go with it. Catering options, which include delivery, are also still available. Order online. 30 East 20th Street, between Broadway and Park Avenue South, Flatiron

Check out 10 Great Sandwiches Still Available in NYC and 10 Great Seafood Dishes Still Available in NYC.

Bobwhite Counter - Alphabet City

94 Loisaida Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10009 (212) 228-2972 Visit Website

SriPraPhai

64-13 39th Avenue, Queens, NY 11377 (718) 899-9599 Visit Website

Curry In A Hurry

3025 East Franklin Avenue, , MN 55406 (612) 729-5222 Visit Website

Chirping chicken

587 9th Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10036 (212) 244-7334 Visit Website

Georgian House

129 Brighton 1st Street, Brooklyn, NY 11235 (718) 759-6555

Le Coq Rico

30 East 20th Street, Manhattan, NY 10003 (212) 267-7426 Visit Website

Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken

2839-2841 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10039 (212) 281-1800

Frangos

182 Avenue B, New York, New York 10009

Factory Tamal

34 Ludlow Street, Manhattan, NY 10002 (917) 691-5524 Visit Website

Indika House

943 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (718) 484-3600
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