Chicken House is the Garment District Version of a Fish & Chip Shop

Chicken House

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.)

Chicken House

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.

Chicken House

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.

Chicken House

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


  • I think I felt my heart palpitate.

  • Zach, you’re in my hood! Give me a heads-up sometime so we can hit one of these spots together. (I might have even tried the crabsticks.)

  • Oh lordy. Zach, I thought you had hit rock bottom when you did the strip club and then that assclown Crazy Legs but a new low. If this is what you’ve resorted to to meet the $10 limit, you have to either raise that bad boy to $15 or start adding whatever change you can panhandle on the way to lunch to the limit. You are one very short leap away from reviewing the lunches at the homeless shelter or getting yourself arrested to sample jail grub. You have a very dedicated support group here…just reach out for help, we’re here for you brother

  • “…if you love fried food, and want to feel like a badass who will eat anything anywhere at lunchtime…”

    that should be the mission statement for this site.


  • Is that your reflection in the door? When you want to get arrested in order to sample jail grub, call me up. Don’t know where I’ll hide the camera, but it’ll be exciting, that’s for sure.

  • Zach,

    The next logical progression is for you to check out NYC Fried Chicken on the corner of 39th/8th. I have to give you props…I’ve worked in the Garment District for 8 years and as adventurous as I am with food, even I’ve been too scared to go to Chicken House. :)

  • Sandra,

    I was going to suggest that same place! I haven’t tried it yet, but they always have a bunch of people in there,and the fried stuff smells go-o-o-od. Why the fear?

    have you tried the Indian buffet on the other side of 8th, bet. 39th/40th, by the new Golden Krust?

  • Chucky will drop* his bucket of KFC when he see’s this.

    *He will catch it though, catching falling food has been clinically proven to be the fastest a lard arsed can move

  • stevenp – Chicken House just always seemed very sketchy. But now that Zach has eatne from it and lived to tell the tale, maybe I’ll reconsider.

    I’ve been to the Indian buffet once…it was ok, nothing spectacular. I am still in search of good Indian food in this area. The closest I came to was West Tandoori Club but I don’t think that’s around anymore.

  • I’ve eaten there a few times. Cheapest fried fish in midtown. The food is very under seasoned, so grab some salt packets. Also, be sure not to reach over the food of any heavy soul sistas. Some white guy nearly caused a race riot in there last time I was there..

  • I walk past this place every morning. I have to say that the stench of yesterday’s oil at 9 in the morning is enough to put anyone off the place forever. Maybe it smells better when the food is in the fryer, not sitting in heaps on the counter waiting to go into the oil. Ugh.

  • I just threw up in my mouth a little

  • bravo, good sir.

  • Thanks for doing what you do! Where else would I hear about something like this????

  • Zach,
    I spose you knew that “El Sucio” means the dirty.

  • Just tried their whiting & fries combo. Cheap, lots of food, but also no flavor.

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    The seafood and chicken is delivered fresh on a daily basis. How do I know? I usually pop in for breakfast around 9-10 and watch a mexican guy ride in on a bicycle and hand the owner the fresh fish which he promptly breads.

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