Hot chicken couldn’t be, well, hotter in New York right now. And we have Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen to thank for that, which, thanks to the almost year-long buzz preceding its recent, Brooklyn opening, ended up significantly raising the local profile of the incendiary Nashville favorite, which has been popping up in earnest on menus all around the city.
Helmed by former Top Chef favorite-turned certified celebrity, Carla Hall (who currently co-hosts The Chew), the intimate, Colombia Waterfront District eatery is wholly inspired by her Tennessee hometown; from the goods and sundries sold in an adjunct market, to the love letter she penned to Nashville, scrawled on a back wall. And of course, there’s her signature item — hot chicken — slow brined, tossed in fiery oil, and pan-fried until crispy. Sold by the piece or as part of platters, the poultry can be ordered in five different heat levels; the sauceless Southern, the sweet Hoot & Honey, the medium Hoot, the Hootie Hot, the Hoot-n-Nannie extra hot, or the no-holds-barred Boomshakalaka; which the staff will reward you having ordered, by shouting its name and ringing a bell.
While its traditionally, sparingly accompanied by a slice of pickle and a square of white bread, you might as well make the most of your trek to the out-of-the-way neighborhood, by working your way through the succinct menu. Entirely nut-free in deference to her partner’s daughter (as well as vegetarian, save for that chicken), options include Buttermilk Biscuits with Nashville-sourced jams, hot and cold sides such as Collards n’ Potlikker, Baked Mac n’ Cheese, Southern Soup Beans and Sweet & Yukon Gold Potato Salad, “Pickles n’ Things” like Chow Chow, Deviled Egg Salad and Pimento Cheese with Ritz, and a duo of desserts, one of which is reliably Banana Pudding.
And to fan the flames of cayenne-soused bird, pour-it-yourself canisters of tea stand at the ready (sweetened to your liking), along with lemonade, cocktails, and pints of beer, crafted especially for the eatery by Brooklyn Brewery. That said, if you’d just as soon double-down on the heat factor, just ask for a bottle of Pure SodaWorks’ Strawberry-Jalapeno pop.
We have a feeling that Hall and Co. would approve.
Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen
115 Columbia St., btwn. Baltic & Kane Sts.