Flatiron Lunch: Soul Fixin’s Isn’t the Best, But It’s the Best We’ve Got
Now that Downtown has its very own section of the site, what are we going to post on Fridays at 10am? Answer… how about a new column devoted to those lunches just south of the ML boundaries. Every week we’ll post about a lunch in Murray Hill south, Gramercy, Flatiron, and everything in between… or to make it easy: Flatiron Lunch.
My lunch hour travels rarely take me to the western edges of Flatiron Lunch boundaries, but earlier this month Robert Sietsema’s tweet about Soul Fixin’s reminded me that I’ve been meaning to try this place out for years. When it was on 34th Street and 9th Avenue, I was never willing to brave the tourist and shopping crowds or -shudder- the M34 to get there. The not-so-new location on 28th Street near F.I.T. may not be closer, but it’s a much easier walk without all the foot traffic in the way.
There aren’t a whole lot of options for soul food in the Flatiron Lunch boundaries, so I decided to check out some American-style Fried Chicken for a change of pace. See what I got after the jump.
When I got there, I was surprised to find West Indian food on the menu, too. Outside of Golden Krust’s mediocre offerings and the Jamaican Dutchy cart, which is a bit to far for those who work in the Flatiron, there’s not much Jamaican food to be found either. I grew up with curried goat, jerk chicken, oxtails and rice and peas as regular dinner options, so a little taste of home is always welcome.
On my first visit, I had fried chicken, mac n cheese and candied yams. I have to say I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t blown away. The fried chicken was homestyle, not engineered or brined and soaked in buttermilk for a week and certainly not candy coated like the Korean version that has captured my attention so much of late. There is plenty of room for different varieties of fried chicken, so I enjoyed this more simple version of an old favorite. The mac n cheese came slathered in a cheese sauce somewhere in between the gooey, extra cheesed version that’s popping up everywhere (we’re looking at you Schnipper’s) and the blue box special.
Really, the disappointing part of the whole meal were the yams. Not nearly as sweet or as saucy as they looked, the yams just come out bland, without any of the expected payoff. Not so good.
On visit number two, I decided to give the Jamaican options a try and ordered the jerk chicken with more mac n cheese (what can I say? I liked it.) and rice and peas. The chicken was not the traditional long-smoked version you find at block parties, but you’d be hard pressed to find much of that anywhere without a modified oil drum smoking out front. Instead the chicken was moister- great for the flesh but less so for the skin which came off a little soggy. The spice rub was all jerk. Spicy and full of all the right flavors. Not so hot that it’ll scorch your tongue, this chicken has enough heat to excite.
Both times, the sides were enormous, two large scoops of each side on top of a quarter chicken will certainly fill you up.
For a dollar over the ML-range, they also have Oxtails, a personal favorite of mine. I might have to make a return trip to try it out. (Or, more likely, I’ll just go someplace in Brooklyn for dinner that has better Jamaican food and is closer to home.)
Overall, the Soul Fixin’s fills a niche you don’t find a lot of in the southern reaches of Midtown or the Flatiron. There may be many great options for either type of food in Harlem or Brooklyn or elsewhere around New York, but not very many of them are near our jobs. Given that, it’s a pretty good lunch option, particularly for the price.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I can’t find any other soul food or Jamaican food anywhere else nearby.
- The portions are huge.
- The food is simple and homestyle.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like about this place would say)
- There’s much better soul food in Harlem and Jamaican food in Brooklyn or Queens.
- If I want good American style fried chicken, I’ll just go to Popeye’s!
- The yams are deceptively bland.
Soul Fixin’s, 225 W. 28th (btw. 7+8th), 212-736-1345