Hill Country Chicken
1123 Broadway at 25th St, Flatiron
I like Hill Country Chicken, but more for its style than its food. The atmosphere is 1970’s basement kitsch that is really fun. The street level has is an open space with ’70s light fixtures, checkered wall paper, and bright yellow walls. The underground dining level is wood paneling all the way with framed LP’s and arcade games. It’s a fun place to hang out, but the main issue is that it wants to be a real restaurant, but has cafeteria/fast food style service. The chicken and sides aren’t bad, but get dried out on stream tables and under hot lights. We tried both styles of chicken, HC Classic and Mama El’s, and both were good, but not great. Classic is fully coated, traditionally seasoned, and Mama’s is thin skin (or no skin?) spiced, and crispy. Like pizza, all fried chicken is pretty good. But I bet its much better fresh out of the fryer. The sides were mediocre and forgettable. We had fried mashed potatoes, coleslaw, blistered corn salad and carrot-n-raisin slaw. I thought the pies would be tasty, but they are so tiny, that they are more novelty and crust, than anything you can sink your teeth into. I bet the slices are better than the cups, but they were not on display, so everyone bought the cute cups. The pie shake is pretty amazing, although a calorie killer.
There are no meal deals, so the prices are pretty steep. When you add up 2 pieces, 2 sides, a drink and pie, it is $20 and not really a whole lot of food for one person. That’s a good price for Hill Country BBQ, but for glorified fast food, it’s high. Now I respect that they use quality ingredients, like Bell & Evans chicken, and would have no problem paying it, if I enjoyed the food more. I am not sure why I would return. If I want great fried chicken, there any many choices, if I want cheap fried chicken I can go to Popeye’s, K-town, or KFC. I guess if I want to chill in the basement with friends, and not focus on amazing grub, Hill Country Chicken would be the place.