Sylvia’s: Fried Chicken with the Queen of Soul Food

I love chicken.  I would eat chicken fingers on Thanksgiving if it were socially acceptable.”  Todd Barry

Sylvia’s (photo by MJ Byers)


Eatery:  Sylvia’s, 328 Lenox Avenue, New York

For a while now, I have been thinking about adding a fried chicken page to Angels.  I very rarely have any fried food but, every once in a very great while, I do get this hankering for fried chicken.  This probably makes sense, as I am the child of transplanted Southerners.   When that jones hits, I figured it would be nice to have a go-to place, where I don’t risk wasting the fat and calorie intake on something that’s just mediocre.

The first stop on the great fried chicken quest was Sylvia’s.  This was handy, as I was really there to put together a piece on the restaurant as a tourist destination (more on that here) – that it dovetailed so nicely into my gluttonous endeavors was really fortunate.  Or maybe I’m just super-clever (probably the former – I seriously doubt it was the latter).

Husband and I both ordered the chicken and waffles which, naturally, raised a debate about how these would compare to the also-very-famous Roscoe’s in L.A.  Putting the comparison aside for one moment, I’ll tell you that the fried chicken at Sylvia’s is melt-in-your-mouth, OMFG good.  It was amazingly juicy, crispy and tender.  And, like Roscoe’s but unlike a lot of fast food fried chicken, it’s devoid of grease.  So, even once you wolf down the big breast/wing combo, you don’t really feel bloated – the chicken managed to be light despite the fact of its deep-fried cooking.  That’s quite a feat.

Chicken & waffles at Sylvia’s (photo by MJ Byers)

Back to the Roscoe’s comparison:  Husband and I parted ways on this one.  I think Sylvia’s chicken is juicier but he thinks that distinction belongs to Roscoe’s.  We did agree that the difference is marginal, however, and that the waffles are a push.  I guess the only way to really settle this one is to head back to the West Coast for a visit to Roscoe’s……..

Price: Chicken (white) & waffles, $12.95

Destination Meal:  Yes, especially if you’re a visitor and fancy a taste of Harlem.

Fat/Calorie Worthy:  Yes, God help me.

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