Chicken House is the Garment District Version of a Fish & Chip Shop
Some places you just instantly know you are going to like. Like the Chicken House on 36th St. just East of 8th Avenue. To call this little fried chicken/fish/shrimp/chip shop small would be vastly overestimating its size. This place is tiny. With no more than 10 seats facing the fryers where everything on the menu is made (nothing escapes the oil except maybe the rice and beans, although I’m not positive), you cram into the 12 inch space behind the stools and decide whether you want to try and sit down, or just order your food to go and quickly flee to the safety of your cubicle.
With the prices maxing out at $6, and a perfectly filling lunch available for a ridiculously cheap $2.50, is there any way I wasn’t going to like this place? Sure there are tons of people who won’t eat nondescript fried fish and shrimp from a tiny off the radar garment district hole in the wall. Lucky for you, I’m not one of those people, and relish every opportunity to put my body in harms way for the sake of this blog (especially when it involves cheaper-than-what-is-humanly-acceptable-for-consumption fried food.)
The menu at the Chicken House is prety easy to navigate. Fried Shrimp. Fried Chicken. Fried Fish. Fried Crabsticks. Order alone or in any number of combinations with rice and beans or french fries. The fried chicken is the cheapest, 2 pieces with french fries is $2.50, with rice, beans, and french fries it’s $4.50. Three pieces of fried chicken and fries is $3.25.
Super crispy, the fried chicken was underseasoned but very tender. Not as good as Popeye’s, which is only a few blocks away (40th btw. 7+8th), but for this price I’ll add my hot sauce and be perfectly content.
On the combo front, you can cover the most ground with the “Big Combo”. Six pieces of shrimp, whiting fish and french fries or rice for $6 (add beans for 50 cents). Don’t need as many shrimp? The “small combo” (pictured above) is $5 and comes with 3 less shrimp. There’s also a fish combo, and a shrimp combo, both paired with one piece of fried chicken. The fried whiting is about the same quality as you would get from Kim’s Aunt Kitchen cart, and the fried shrimp were a pretty decent size, and fried really crispy. For prices this cheap, you are right to question the quality of the seafood, but I didn’t get sick- so, what’s the complain about. Like the fried chicken, both were lacking in the salt and pepper category, but you can easily make things right with any of the three sauces provided on the counter in squeeze bottles (ketchup, tartar & hot sauce).
If you’re looking for “fish and chips” (as the sign clearly promotes) this is not it. There is nothing resembling cod to be had (the fish is all whiting), no vinegar on the counter, and they probably serve more rice and beans than fries. But if you love fried food, and want to feel like a badass who will eat anything anywhere at lunchtime, than Chicken House is the adventure lunch you’re looking for. Oh, and sorry, I didn’t try the crabsticks. Even I have my limits…
THE + (What somebody who loves this place would say)
- I love fried food!
- I love cheap fried food!
- I love cheap fried food served in an off the beaten path setting!
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I hate fried food
- I hate cheap fried food (especially seafood)
- I hate cheap fried food served in an uncomfortably small setting
- I’d like to not have a heart attack before I’m 40.
Chicken House, 270 W. 36th St. (btw. 7+8th), 212-695-3493