TravelNoise: Brine Chicken, New York City
If you’re anything like me, you grew up eating chicken, chicken and — yep — more chicken. And while all that poultry can get boring after a while, I would never tire of Brine Chicken’s spread. Guys, I’m serious about this. If you have 30 minutes to grab a bite and you’re dying for chicken, hightail it over to Brine Chicken ASAP.
Nestled in Chelsea just steps from the 8th Avenue subway, there Brine Chicken sits, unassuming. But a few steps away, you’ll be nearly swept off your feet by the incredible smells of fire-grilled chicken. Inside, the decor is minimalist and modern, brushed with greys and subtle pops of color. It’s a self-ordering situation, and everything is customizable, but don’t be fooled: the chicken is the star here. Even the beer and wine selection was chosen specifically because each libation complements the chicken.
Our guest talked us through the ordering process, which is simple enough, and we got right to it. My guest ordered the Brooklyn lager while I opted for the full-bodied Merlot. Then, we decided to try it all — the chicken, all three salads on offer, all the sides and what the establishment calls “The Sandwich.” Oh yeah, we were here to conquer.
First up came the spatchcock grilled half chicken ($13.50), charred and coated in the restaurant’s signature blackened chili and honey garlic sauce. The chicken was juicy and tender with a delightfully crispy outside and some pop from the heat and subtle sweetness of the sauce. Then, the salads came out. The Gigi salad ($11), made of romaine and shredded kale mix, buttermilk tzatziki beets, sliced red onion, roasted red pepper, cranberries, goat cheese and white balsamic dressing, was fresh and bright while the classic Greek salad ($10) was super savory and satisfying with lots of feta and cool cucumber. Finally, the Caesar ($10) stood out as one of “the good ones,” meaning it was exactly as a Caesar salad should be.
The sides and the sandwich came out shortly after, followed by an arrangement of house-made sauces including the best honey mustard sauce I’ve ever had in my life, buttermilk red, buttermilk green, our good friend blackened chili garlic and charred jalapeño. All I have to say is that the sauces are just as good as the chicken, and I vehemently begged our host to start selling these sauces on the side.
We mixed and matched, trying what we thought might be good with some of the sides. The rice and peas ($3.50) matched well with the buttermilk green sauce, which was super fresh and bright, while the brown sugar and lemon carrots ($4) worked well with a little charred jalapeño. The marinated tomato and hearts of palm ($4) was at peak savory flavor with tons of olive oil and basil and the white balsamic farro ($4) was perfectly al dente with a nice bite from the balsamic and cranberries. Finally, we got to the sandwich ($9.50), which consisted of the butter grilled brioche, blackened chili honey-garlic sauce pulled chicken, grilled coleslaw, and black pepper aioli. It was buttery and flavorful with that familiar kick from the honey-garlic sauce.
Ultimately, we’ve gotta hand it to Brine Chicken for doing what so many attempt to do and are okay at: making perfect chicken with perfect sides and even perfect homemade sauces. This place has it all, and if you aren’t running there after reading this, we think something might be wrong with you.