Hill Country Chicken | 1123 Broadway (at 25th St.) | 212.257.6446 | www.hillcountrychicken.com | |

AVID AND LONGTIME fans of the fabulous barbecue at Hill Country have been salivating eagerly since learning of their new offshoot, using the same TLC they successfully use with pork and now choosing to employ it to chicken. Fried chicken, indeedy. And they were right to do so, as the new post, called Hill Country Chicken, opened this past Wednesday and turned out some mighty fine, down home, Southern, comfort chow.

Others were as eager as I was to try the menu, as there was already a line of people waiting impatiently for the doors to officially open at noon. Once they did, we were treated to the decor of the set of Doris Day movie and the aromas of Grandma's kitchen at a family reunion.

An more fully realized Manhattan version of Williamsburg's rightfully popular Pies 'n' Thighs, the menu concentrates on fried chicken and homemade pies. And you can witness them putting together many of the items, including a house special Texas Hand Roll which is a fried chicken wrap with pepper jelly and almonds, and the homemade biscuits that get a quick dip in butter when they come right out of the oven.

There are two versions of fried chicken offered here, which you can order by the piece or as a combo with any of their sides. One version, the Mama El's Recipe, is skinless, brined in buttermilk and herbs, hand-dipped in batter then fried. The other Hill Country Classic version, with skin, is brined in the same fashion, double-coated in flour, coated in their signature Chicken Shake, and fried.

I ordered a three pieces, mixed, with a side of Cheese Fried Mashed Potatoes and a fountain soda.

Both versions of the fried chicken were excellent, moist and tender with and flavorful with hints of herbs. Both had great skin, one more crispy and one more crunchy, both helping keep the flavor of chicken inside each bite and both providing a fun texture balance. With my abated appetite, I haven't been finishing much of the otherwise good food I've been eating as of late, but I heartily and completely grazed through each piece. The mashed potatoes were delicious as well but, alas, too heavy for me to finish.

Hill Country Chicken's executive chef, Elizabeth Karmel, was on hand for the opening, manning the pastry station, showcasing all sorts of beautifully-looking pies over various size.

She was also torching, to order, sugar on top of creme brulées as people ordered them, and I could not resist the urge to try one myself, choosing to have it a la mode, which which executive chef Elizabeth, surprisingly, said she had never seen before. It was sublime—I finished it as well—sweet, clean, rich, light, hot, cold, crumbly (the graham cracker pie crust), crackly, creamy, just sublime.

Across the street, tourists and New Yorkers with way too much time on their hands stand on line for an hour or so for a very decent burger. But you can also find a decent burgers within blocks of Madison Square Park. I've had to travel to Harlem or Brooklyn to find chicken this good (and wallet-friendly, as my whole meal cost less then 18 bucks!), until now, and project that people will soon, and more so, wait in line, salivating, for their next meal at Hill Country Chicken.

Bun Apple Tea!


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Hill Country Chicken | 1123 Broadway (at 25th St.) | 212.257.6446 | www.hillcountrychicken.com | |