When you think of fried chicken, try to resist imagining the Colonel and try focusing on New York. As in, NY Chicken & Biscuit.
After expanding in the mid 2000s, NYCB (as it is lovingly referred) sold off its restaurant on Park Street and the flagship Albany Avenue location, leaving only the spot on Farmington Avenue near Sigourney Street.
THE VIBE: This restaurant has some of that big city / cheap eats vibe so prevalent in its namesake town, but that Hartford area suburbanites may not be accustomed to. We're talking about a fairly no frills, mostly take away place. You order at the counter, which is where you can also eat if the restaurant's small tables are filled.
This is basically like a fast food restaurant. Because it is a fast food restaurant.
Make sure to pick up some temporary tattoos or bouncy balls from the old quarter slot vending machines for the little ones.
THE FOOD: On a nice spring day, this writer caught students in their chef whites from Lincoln Culinary Institute crossing Farmington Ave. with bags full of chicken. That about says it all.
The batter is crispy and full of flavor, the meat succulent and tender. Orders are available from 2 to 21 pieces, as well as in combos with biscuits, fries, or mashed potatoes.
NYCB's fries are stupendous, likely cooked in the same oil as the chicken for all their rich taste. When was that oil changed? Does it matter? That's part of the flavor.
The spicy chicken sandwich ($3.75) is great, but a bit heavy on the mayo. There's the beef or chicken gyro ($4.75), fried whiting fish, burgers, and fried shrimp. Even though 'biscuit' is in the name, these aren't anything to write home about, but still do the trick.
THE BILL: Three piece mixed chicken (thigh, leg, and wing) with biscuit is 4.75; add fries for only 1.20 more. If it's game night, a whopping 21 pieces only runs $22.75.
A 9 piece chicken nugget with fries is $4.50, and tastier than nuggets at either the king or the clown. NYCB only lacks their saucy accoutrements.
THE PARTICULARS: NY Chicken & Biscuit is open from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday. Get your late night eats on Friday and Saturday, when doors don't close until 4 a.m.
The parking lot is a little small, but spots are easy to find on the street or across Farmington Avenue. Credit cards are accepted.
THE VERDICT: If you have a hankering for fried chicken, forget corporate chains. Hartford has many hidden jewels for good eats, and NY Chicken & Biscuit is one of them.