Hill Country Chicken Makes the Best Chicken Sandwich in NYC
By the time you read this, our man UltraClay will probably be on a plane heading to Asia or at least getting felt up by a TSA agent. Before he left, he followed up on some of the Flatiron Lunch spots that opened up in a flurry at the end of the summer. Let’s see how they are doing now that the dust has settled, the lines have subsided and (hopefully) all the kinks have been worked out. (Today might as well be friday, right?)
When we last saw Hill Country Chicken, the line was out the door and Jeffrey Steingarten was storming away because he couldn’t find someone to slide him some freebies. Now that the buzz has died down a bit, I decided it was time to check out some of the menu items I missed. What I found was that the delicious, if pricey fried chicken may be obscuring the best southern-style chicken sandwich this side of Chick-Fil-A.
Every year when Chick-Fil-A comes to town, I do what I can to get as many glorious pickle-laden sandwiches as I can. The idea of pickles on a chicken sandwich had never occurred to me before I first had their version. It’s ridiculous how well it works.
I’ve tried the McDonald’s version time and again and never ended up with more than a stomachache. This is the real deal, possibly better (if not as good a value) than the original.
Clearly, the Chickwich isn’t a bargain. At $8, it’s price only makes sense next to a $5.50 chicken breast. Still, the crispy boneless breast, topped with pickle slices and overflowing out from a potato roll is something to behold.
I’ve always been a fan of a good potato roll. The soft chewiness works so well with something as crunchy as the chicken. It also soaks in a little of the sourness of the pickle juice prolonging the flavor for a little longer. I only wish it were a little bigger to provide a bit more coverage for the chicken.
When I visited the first day, I was very excited about the pie shake. The various pies, like the ones above are tossed into the blender with the ice cream to make what sounds like the ultimate shake. Pie and ice cream belong together… in my belly. Since I wasn’t stuffing my face with as much chicken this time, I decided now was the time to make that happen.
Sadly, it turned out to be less appealing once I had it. I had the bourbon pecan pie tossed in with my milkshake. I was excited about it until the first time my straw got clogged with pie chunks. That happened over and over again until I finally went back to the counter and asked for a spoon. The problem is that the shake isn’t really thick enough to eat with a spoon. Really, what I’d love would be more like a sundae or a Wendy’s Frosty with crumbled pie bits strewn throughout. That’s not what this is and I’m not so happy about spending $6 to find out.
So, win some, lose some. The Chickwich is possibly my favorite chicken sandwich around, but the shake made me wish I’d just gotten a second delicious sandwich.