Poulette French Rotisserie Takes Roost in Hells Kitchen
I would venture to guess that the average Midtownluncher hasn’t lamented over the lack of French style rotisserie chicken in Midtown. On the other hand, before the uptowning of Xi’an Famous Foods, there were plenty of us that yearned for a taste of those bracingly spicy lamb noodles during our lunch breaks. And do you recall how glum the Midtown pizza scene was until Don Antonio brought us a proper Neapolitan pie? Curiously, an unspoken demand for French style rotisserie chicken has been met with the opening of Provence as well as Hells Kitchen newcomer, Poulette.
The financial services sector has gifted the New York dining scene with plenty of former burn-outs – former investment management analyst Luke Holden brought us Luke’s Lobster, Lehman Brother’s alum Eddie Song launched the Korilla BBQ fleet, and Adam Jama left the finance industry to open Poulette. Mr. Jama, a native of Paris, has done his best to faithfully recreate a roast chicken that one might find in France, even importing a special rotisserie oven from Chelles.
Poulette proudly flaunts its commitment to high quality ingredients, stating that the birds are local, free-range, and organic. As such, the prices are a notch higher than your typical rotisserie chicken. But one can still eat very well at ML friendly prices – a combo meal (quarter chicken + a side) comes in at $9, and there’s a chicken sandwich on the menu for $9.95.
I must admit that I was underwhelmed by the size of my quarter chicken, but my little Napoleonic fowl more than made up for its stature by being fall off the bone tender and thoroughly juicy. There were sauces available, but like a high quality steak, any additional pampering would have only been a distraction from the intensely flavorful meat.
Herb roasted potatoes ($3.75) had been cooked to that precise point where they are at first sturdy to the bite, but give way to a soft and appealingly waxy interior and a whiff of thyme. And the ratatouille ($3.75) was everything that a good ratatouille should be – a comforting yet vibrant mélange of tomatoes, onions, zucchini and eggplant, dutifully spiced with garlic and marjoram.
If I could point out any flaws in my experience, both the ratatouille and chicken were a mite on the oily side. And one may need to surrender to the $10 limit to be completely satisfied in one sitting. But I was smitten with the flavor of my chicken and the sides. We may have never explicitly asked for a French style rotisserie joint (let alone 2 of them!) in Midtown, but we (and Andy Cohen) are certainly glad that they’re here.
Poulette, 790 9th ave (btw 52-53 st); (212) 956-9488