Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brooklyn's Version of Nashville-Style Hot Chicken — A Knowledgeable Nashvillian Checks It Out

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Hot chicken from Peaches HotHouse in Brooklyn
  • Photo by Evan Sung via
  • Hot chicken from Peaches HotHouse in Brooklyn
Remember in June when Bites was trying to absorb the fact that a Brooklyn restaurant was serving up "Nashville-style hot chicken," but had to turn down the heat because of customer complaints?

Well, now Jennifer Justus, food writer at the Tennessean, has posted on her personal blog an account of her visit to said restaurant, Peaches HotHouse.

Unfailingly polite, Justus nonetheless reports such heresies as the "Nashville-style hot chicken" is not cooked in a skillet (ancient and spice-encrusted or otherwise) but is fried in a fryer.

Also noted in Justus' colorful prose: "At Peaches HotHouse the chicken is pleasantly orange. Like a sunset. At Prince’s it’s rusty-brown like a paint chip from the walls of hell.

"At Peaches HotHouse the chicken rests on a sturdy mattress of egg bread," she continues. "At Prince’s it sits on a standard-issue slice of white bread so thick with grease you could wring it out."

Justus speaks to one of Peaches' owners, Ben Grossman, who says, “The chicken that we serve up here is probably more like a medium down in Nashville. But we do offer two more varieties of hot, hot chicken which you need to ask for." He adds, "I remember when I was eating down at Prince’s I could only take a few bites.”

It takes a real man to admit that.

Justus gives Grossman and his partner Craig Samuel (both Brooklynites and classically trained chefs) major credit for actually taking the time to learn about hot chicken after being impressed by a Southern Foodways Alliance documentary on the subject. Grossman went on a pilgrimage to Nashville, where he visited Prince’s, Bolton’s and 400 Degrees.

"All things considered, I love what the guys in New York are doing," Justus says, calling Peaches' hot chicken "an homage," not a rip-off.

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