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Fried chicken is a dish that's as American as apple pie—it's in the national lexicon, and it's a part of who we are. Yet, despite having origins south of the Mason-Dixon, the dish can be found throughout New York City, where in the past three years, it has spurred a culinary revolution with critical darlings like Root & Bone, Birds & Bubbles and the original Brooklyn location of this fowl-focused counter at the forefront. Now, at both that flagship and this two-year-old LES outpost, Sweet Chick takes the rustic staple and refines it as the salty, crispy, juicy bird of our dreams.
For starters, a crowd-pleasing appetizer of macaroni and cheese ($9) mixed Gruyere, fontina, aged white cheddar and pasta shells and was topped with a Ritz cracker crust. Though deliriously creamy without being too rich, it would have been better had it not arrived lukewarm. On the other hand, crawfish hush puppies ($9) came fresh and hot from the fryer. Crispy on the outside and creamy within, there was plenty of meat inside each golden nugget.
The traditional dish of fried chicken and waffles ($18)—the restaurant’s signature—boasted two pieces of addictively crispy bird. The best part of the plate, though, came in the form of fluffy Belgian-style waffles, which were ideal for soaking up the a decadent house berry butter. Shrimp and grits ($24) were the standout of the night, boosted with plump shrimp swimming in a spicy, tomato-based broth. With a few temperature issues here and there, the biggest misstep was sadly perhaps also the most avoidable: a side of a biscuit, which arrived dry and cold to the table.
Cocktails are strong and sturdy: the Seaside Woman ($12) is reminiscent of a Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda (in the best way possible), while the Taildragger ($12)—a combination of rye whiskey, Cynar, cucumber, strawberries and lemon and lime juices—was cool and refreshing on the warmest of days. Service, like the food menu, comes in true Southern fashion: with a smile and a little bit of a delay. You won’t mind though—the restaurant’s welcoming interior and contemporary soundtrack invite you to make yourself at home.
BY: TIME OUT COMMUNITY REVIEWER LINDSAY DENNINGER
178 Ludlow St
|Cross street:||between E Houston and Stanton Sts|
|Transport:||Subway: F to Lower East Side–Second Ave|
|Price:||Average entrée: $16. AmEx, Disc, MC, V|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu, Sun 11am–2am; Fri, Sat 11am–4am|
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