Saturday, October 2, 2010
Hill Country Chicken - Not Your Ordinary Clucker
Hill Country Chicken - 1123 Broadway, New York NY 10010
N/R Train to 23rd Street
Recently learning that one of my favorite BBQ joints in the city, Hill Country was launching a fried chicken place that just opened, I was gung-ho about trying it. My friend Bo, who's also a fried chicken fan joined me, and together we indulged in a very delicious, Southern-style lunch.
Although in a completely different location than Hill Country, you can tell that Hill Country Chicken is its close relative. The fun whimsical vibe and the vibrant employees embody that same Southern hospitality feel, although Hill Country Chicken is a lot more out there and colorful. The color palate is so bright and cheery that it stimulates your senses from the minute you walk in. I especially love the decorative wallpaper that differs on each wall and the huge star on the far back wall, which your eye naturally focuses on.
After you take everything in, you're ready to wait in line to be served at the bright yellow counter, displaying all the freshly fried chicken, flaky biscuits, sides and other yummy grub. A separate pie counter is located on the side, for which the line is considerably shorter and you can visit it after you finish your chicken, as to not spoil your appetite (or to receive a freshly baked piece right out of the oven).
Chicken is of course the star of the show and it comes in various methods including straight up fried pieces, chicken tenders, sandwiches such as a chickwich, a club sandwich, and even a fried chicken salad. Bo and I chose the simple fried chicken and the Hill Country club, along with sides and some pie too.
Fried Chicken - We got a couple of pieces of fried chicken including a leg and some wings. I personally munched on a good sized wing with crispy skin and a wonderfully juicy inside. Bo noticed that the chicken had a unique flavor and was slightly sweet. That was fine by me and besides the hint of sweetness, there was some spice to it too.
Hill Country Club - I also ordered Hill Country's club sandwich, which looked very impressive. Bo and I watched it come together before our eyes - a large, thick, fried chicken cutlet, big hunks of avocado, a beefsteak tomato and creamy mayo sauce that tied it all together. Even though it looked messy, it was a pleasure to eat - the delicious, succulent meat being the star component yet again. Since this sandwich is quite large, I suggest sharing it with your dining companion.
Sides - Two small sides accompanied our hearty lunch including a buttermilk biscuit and cheesy fried mashed potatoes. We ate the former with the fried chicken, of course and it was light, flaky and freshly baked. You could tell it was made from scratch and not from some artificial mix.
The cheesy mashed potatoes were out of this world and unlike any mashed potatoes I've had. I loved the stringiness of the cheese and how it wrapped around the soft potatoes. There was a surprise ingredient too - fiery red peppers that gave these already scrumptious potatoes additional panache.
Pies - Hill Country's mini pies are worth talking about. They have about six flavors each day, and they're all enticing. I went with a peach blackberry cobbler with a pretty star design on top. The minute I bit into it my eyes lit up - the filling was chunky, zesty and not too sweet while the crust was perfectly buttery and crumbly.
Service and Cost:
The servers at Hill Country personify Southern Hospitality. I appreciated the welcoming attitude they all had and the willingness they portrayed to make sure that we had everything we needed. The staff was cheery, friendly and stood out as a highlight of our experience.
Costs are moderate but a fair trade for what you're getting:
Fried Chicken - $1.75 - $5.50
Texas Tenders - $6.50 - $19
Sandwiches & Salads - $5 - $10
Sides - $.50 - $5
Pies - $3 - $40
3 Fried Mmmms