UNITED STATES (NASHVILLE)
Before a 2010 trip to Nashville and other parts further south, "Nashville hot chicken" was not on any radar of mine. In researching good spots to eat during the trip, it was apparent that a trip to famous Prince's Hot Chicken Shack just north of the city center was essential. The only downside of this was of course that using Prince's as an introduction to hot chicken is ruining the dish for yourself anywhere else, so before leaving, it was sampled at Peaches HotHouse in BedStuy.
While Peaches was good (better in 2010 than more recently), Prince's was unforgettable, and the hot chicken only had room to fall. Well, almost. Given a little time, others become acceptable as long as no returns to Prince's are made.
The story of hot chicken's birth is unverified but centers around a girlfriend getting revenge on her womanizing partner, who ended up loving the spicy version. Read into it if you have the chance.
Conveniently last year, a "love letter to Nashville" and this famous chicken dish has opened up on the far west coast of Brooklyn, in the Columbia Street Waterfront District. Carla Hall, a famous chef from TV (and Nashville) has created a small restaurant that continues the Nashville tradition, and does it pretty well. She could have easily made this into a more glamourous place with long waits for tables and unnecessary buzz, but it remains a casual counter order and cafeteria seating type of place. Help yourself to the lemonades and iced tea.
The menu is all about the chicken, thankfully they do not try any other dishes and make their bird wonderful. Grab it at your desired spice level 1-6, pick two sides, and wait at a table. The Jefferson ($12.50, above) includes a leg and thigh, two sides, and a piece of bread. It is just about the perfect amount of food for one person.
Hoot -n- Nanie! (Level 5)
Of all the sides sampled on this night, ranked from top to bottom, this would be the order: Collards n' pot likker (below), baked mac n' cheese (above), potato salad (above), tangy cole slaw (below), and the southern soup beans (not pictured).
They also have draft beers and wine by the glass (or carafe) if you want to get sloppy. Beer and spicy food is always a winning combination.