Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fried chicken and catfish (Pies'n'Thighs)

Fried chicken box

I've been giving a lot of thought as to where I want to live in NYC next year. Obviously my salary puts a big constraint on what's possible... obviously I can't afford to solo a studio in Chelsea, I probably can't manage a room on the Upper East Side, and I certainly can't find an affordable place near Union Square. Outside of financial considerations, second in my list of criteria is probably food. I know this doesn't make sense, but nope... I don't really care about my personal safety so long as there's something good to eat near my house. So yeah, lately I've been squinting my eyes super hard thinking about foods I like to eat... things like hand-pulled noodles (Chinatown), Japanese Curry (Hell's Kitchen), doughnuts (Greenpoint), and things that are, in general, fried. Which brings us to a post on "why Nicholas wants to move to Williamsburg." Three words... sort of... Pies'n'Thighs.

Someone pointed out that their name sounds like a bakery run by strippers. This is true, and unfortunately for middle-aged perverted men everywhere, that is not the case. Pies'n'Thighs is just your friendly neighborhood eatery specializing in Southern comfort food in the form of fried chicken (and other fried things) and pies. Two of my most favorite things conveniently located in a single shop... +2 for points on moving to Williamsburg. When Robyn and Melissa asked if I had ever been, I secretly squealed like a schoolgirl, but calmly replied that I had not and would love to.

Fried catfish box

If it's not obvious yet, they're really good at making fried chicken. Super crispy skin, nice juicy white meat, all-around solid flavor profile. Their catfish might be even better though. I usually abstain from eating stuff that comes from the water (I prefer not scratching myself to death)... but their fried catfish was crazy good. With just a light coating of breadcrumbs, the catfish was remarkably tender and juicy... pulling apart with just light prodding from a knife. The flavor is kind of nondescript, but when paired with tartar sauce... this shit was spot-on. And it also came with cornbread. It is an impossibility to screw up cornbread, so that was awesome too. Another +1 for living in Williamsburg?

Chicken biscuit

There's something called a "chicken biscuit" on their menu. It is $5.50. Not knowing what exactly it was... curiosity definitely played a role in it getting ordered. It's basically their standard biscuit - warm, flaky, buttery, and happiness in pastry form - sandwiching a fried chicken cutlet drizzled with honey butter and hot sauce. Is it good? Fuck yeah it is. Is it worth $5.50? It's small as hell... so probably not. Whatever. I'd eat it again if it were free... if that means anything to you.

Partial desserts menu

Since the store name has "pies" in it, they must be good at making pies. Fact. Even after being warned by Robyn that their pies probably weren't anything special, I was still adequately aroused by the idea of eating pies and fried chicken in one place. When I looked at the dessert specials menu, I was torn between the struffoli (it's dough... FRIED!) or the coffee ice cream pie. Tough decision. More fried stuff or an ice cream pie?

Coffee ice cream pie

We got the coffee ice cream pie. Buyer's remorse for me. I realized it was really just coffee ice cream in an Oreo crust (which probably should've been completely obvious to me from the name). Not that it's not great and all - it tasted good - it's just that fried dough covered in honey and sprinkles seemed way more baller after ordering.

Unfortunately for me, Williamsburg is also the hipster HQ of NYC. You know who I'm talking about... wearing their tight jeans and Converses. They'll probably make fun of me for riding a bike with multiple speeds/brakes! So despite the all the pros that come from the kick ass food at Pies'n'Thighs, it's all negated by privileged rich kids who like pretending they're poor, enjoy wearing goofy clothing, and listen to crappy music. Fuck. Guess I gotta keep looking.

Now for a serious question... is it dumb that I'm choosing my home based on proximity to food?


Kevin said...

I live in the Upper East Side, so if you ever want to hang out with one of your blog stalkers, gimme a holler.


Oh, and as for what's around me, Yuka ($20.95 for AYCE sushi = win), Shake Shack, and Two Little Red Hens are my go-to places. Not very many solid options up here.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to say no.. I would definitely choose where I wanted to live in NY based on proximity to great food.

I think food is one of the reasons I'm hightailing it back to CA as soon as I graduate. Philadelphia just doesn't have the same accessibility to the cuisine I love...

munchimonster said...

@Anonymous: I know what you meann; I totally miss the plethora of diverse food joints back in NY T.T
And @ Kevin I would totally live at Two Little Red Hens if I could

Danny said...

yea that chicken biscuit is awesome but not worth the price at all.

James said...

I used to live around the corner from Pies and Thighs, and those corners are pretty great for eating out. Marlow and Sons/Daughters, Diner, Saltie, Fette Sau, Best Pizza... and I'm guessing only more places will pop up as time goes on. Menu prices and rent, though, will continue to creep, and so will review trotter traffic, which can be more annoying than kids in the neighborhood. And honestly, as long as you're living below Grand and are not a douchey bar hopper, life tends to be laid back and unpretentious.

Nicholas said...

Rodzilla - good, I told my parents that and they laughed at me. I once considered living in Harlem because there's awesome fried chicken and my mom told me to "have fun getting stabbed." Whatever. Crispy fucking skin.

Kevin - yeah man, I'd be down for that. Good thing I can't afford the UES, so that's nothing to worry about for me anyway haha.


Danny - I think I'd pay like $3 for that. Maybe. It was definitely something I'd eat again, but I also feel like I could replicate it to a decent degree for cheaper.

James - Yeah see? I really like Diner and Best Pizza. That trio of places would be reason enough to live there. I think in the absence of an affordable place in Manhattan, I'd totally be down living in Williamsburg. Plus the train runs super close to Google so I'd be set.

James said...

Nick, I would look at places below Metropolitan and between Havemeyer and Berry. I think the locale starting near Best Pizza and stretching to the Graham stop is also pretty sweet.

And it also bears mentioning that if you live near Pies n Thighs, then you're close enough to the Marcy JMZ stop to make Shopsin's one subway stop away! We gotta hit that when you're back in town.

Shirley said...

NIC, before you make the jump to williamsburg (getting quite pricey as well), check out Carroll Gardens/ Cobble Hill! Or Park slope (good cupcakes, fish n' chips, a whole lot of other things). I think these days Manhattan could get a lil boring after a while, and the price tag of the apartments overwhelm the budget you have for food, so the other side of the bridge ain't lookin' so bad....

Shirley said...

BTW, I've been told that I make a rather neat apple pie (complete with an all butter crust! Caramel optional) so if you're ever interested and around philly or Brooklyn, let me know! I'm always looking to get opinions on improvements in case I open up my wee lil' pie shop one day. Twentyfour backbirds totally stole my idea (I came up with it since I was in college!)

Ling said...

I live in Hell's Kitchen and there is a plethora of good restaurants in the area. (especially Thai food!) The one thing lacking though is some good dim sum, though there is a Joe's Shanghai and John's Shanghai in midtown.

Nicholas said...

James - ha I've been asking friends who live there for advice on Brooklyn (and I'm sure I'll ask you too as the time draws near). Next time Shopsin's is definitely happening. Those doughnuts, I still think of them.

Shirley - Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill are borderline too far for me. Gotta think of convenience of commute. Park Slope is an option though.

As for the pie... I'll be in Philly until July and possibly Brooklyn thereafter! Plus I'm not one to turn down pie (especially one with an all butter crust). Just let me know where/when and I SHALL EAT PIE.

Ling - oooh yeah Hell's Kitchen would be mad nice for me, I just gotta work on finding an apartment is all. I'm not that huge a fan of soup dumplings in NYC in general, but the close proximity to Go Go Curry is nice...

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