Friday, October 15, 2010

KFC This Is Not, Scoping Out Hill Country Chicken

Let me preface this post by saying:

1. I'm not an expert in Southern food. I just know what tastes good to me; and

2. While I didn't eat a lot of fast food growing up, I did love KFC.

I haven't had the chance to check out the much heralded Hill Country BBQ, the big sister restaurant to the newer Hill Country Chicken. That's, like, a total failure on my part. To make up for it in the meantime, I decided to finally check out Hill Country's version of Southern fried chicken.

Some things you should know (I'm in a list mood today):

1. This place ain't cheap, y'all. Hill Country requires that you pay PER PIECE for their chicken. Their breasts, which are actually quite large, will run you $5.50. Granted it's a pretty big piece, but still! I settled for a thigh and a drumstick. I'm a drumstick girl. :)

2. There are two types of chicken to be had: the classic and the Mamma El's Recipe style. Mamma El's is a skinless piece with unconventional spices (I guess perhaps to rival the Colonel?) covered in a crunchy cracker crust. All of Hill Country's chicken is sourced from Bell Evans, a poultry supplier that raises its chickens humanely on an all-natural veggie diet.

3. Unlike KFC, you're not getting any special meal deals here, which I guess is the point of slightly more upscale chicken spot.

My Chicken Lunch

Close Ups

My assessment?

1. The chicken. I went with the classic chicken. I was a little disappointed with the drumstick; BUT, oh my, the thigh! Perfectly cooked, juicy beyond belief and nicely savory. I loved the balance of crispy skin with tender meat. Unlike most types of fried chicken I've had, there is a hint of sweetness along with the usual saltiness (it is brined prior to cooking) as well as a taste of spicy heat. That thigh was on point.

2. The biscuit. Beyond disappointing. I think this is where KFC actually does have a leg up. A little too crispy and waaayy too dry. I was so sad because I totally was looking forward to a satisfying biscuit for lunch. It made me want to search out a KFC or Popeye's just for the biscuit. Unfortunately, there aren't many (if any) in this part of NYC.

3. The carrot salad. Not bad. It reminded me of the carrot salads with raisins that my Mom used to make when I was a kid, hence why I ordered it. I believe that Hill Country's had currants with a small amount of something that was perhaps mayonnaise. Luckily, the mayonnaise (or whatever sauce that was) didn't weigh down the carrots or make it too milky.

I will say that Hill Country impressed me with the breadth of their menu. There are chicken salads and chicken sandwiches too in case you don't want to just eat pieces of chicken. The sides include everything from homemade pickles and coleslaw to some pretty tasty looking French fries.

Of course, besides chicken the other main feature of Hill Country Chicken is PIE. Lots of pies. I fell in love with the mini ones (The pies also come in two other sizes: colossal pizza size and two-person varieties).

Aren't the stars cute? It's Peach Blackberry Pie.
Hidden on the bottom is Cowboy Pie (butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, coconut and pecans).

Pecan Pie

I got taken in by the star made of dough and went with the Peach Blackberry pie. Meh...Dry and not much going on with the fruit filling. Another disappointment. :(

Apparently, Hill Country also offers something called a pie shake: half of one of these mini pies, scoops of vanilla ice cream and a splash of milk. I think I'm going to steer clear of that one. :)

I will definitely be going back to Hill Country Chicken when I need my fried chicken fix (and don't mind paying for it!).

Hill Country Chicken
1123 Broadway (corner of 25th Street)
New York, NY


lavenderpug said...

thanks for the thorough review. i now know to get the chicken thigh if i go there, and to skip the biscuit. want to check out hill country bbq together?

Try Anything Once Terri said...

TOTALLY!! I'm holding you to that. I didn't think it would look cool being a woman chomping down on a big rib in the middle of a restaurant by myself. :)


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