Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Even in the throes of this confession I found myself sitting in one of the stools on a mid week night. I had to get it out of my system one last time. Thank goodness this chicken don't text. Tiger knows.
It's true. I can't dispute the evidence. Those thick thighs and sweet pies made me stray. I was in Williamsburg 3 days in a row from March 5 through the 7th. Not too deep in the Burg, close enough that an escape via the Bridge was easy money. That escape route is necessary. At first it was harmless. Just a meal with with the boys before a night out in the Planet of BK. It made sense. Party in BK, so might as well grub in BK. But I had no clue what I was entering. For the record, I have no regrets. Yeah, I said it.
Before closing their doors back in January of 2008 Pies-N-Thighs achieved mythical status. Apparently this was the go-to for southern food up north. A year and a half later members of the PnT team set up shop at Roberta's in Bushwick slinging fried chicken out the back door. Finally in early March of this year, they reopened in the shadows of the bridge. I had the Willyburg boycott on heavy rotation for years so it was all a dream. But I matured and sanctions were lifted so I made it my business to venture southeast towards the Hipster Hamlet. Don't tell that to Bushwick.
It was all about the fried chicken. Everything I read said Big Tings! Having just completed an independent study at Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken I was eager to see how PnT measured up. I'm here to enter the world of fried chicken academia. Got to pay to play baby.
Aside from seeing some flannels, facial hair and keds I didn't know what to expect. I figured there would be a line but it wasn't bad- maybe 10-15 deep. We were told to order our food and then we would be given a table once some jerks went to go play Buck Hunter. Damn How, easy with the vitriol. Good vibes baby, good vibes. The front room was packed so we thought the wait would be long, but were told there was seating in the back. Drinks and pies were handed over upon payment and hot food was delivered to the table. All food is made to order.
Got a table in the back and waited for the food to be served. Took at least 15 minutes to get the grub. Relatively speaking, 15 minutes isn't bad. I think I might have expected things to move quicker, but you live and learn. This was uncharted territory. All good, now I know what to expect. And you do too. Truth be told I was starving and it was tough not to go in on the pie in front of me (banana cream) as well as finish the sweet tea and beer.
I ordered the fried chicken box- 3 pieces of chicken (2 legs and a thigh), 1 side (mac n cheese), and a biscuit ($10). 2 hefty, meaty legs with the thigh to match. Let me say, YOOOOOO. If you know me you get it. If you don't, then YOOOO. This is some serious fried chicken. Crunchy and crispy shell, extremely moist meat and flavor in every bite. Topped off with sea salt flakes. It looked good and tasted better. Delicious. Anybody can make a mean dredge. It's what happens after that, that determines fair or fowl. PnT knows what they're doing. That first bite said it all. The future visits were already in the books. The tarot cards read more trips to BK. The mac n cheese was fine. Not baked, more like the Kraft kind. But that's my shit. If you're a baked mnc snob, you might be disappointed. Speaking of disappointment, let's discuss the biscuit. Mine was cold and partially raw. The only negative from the entire meal. The cornbread more than made up for it. But the chicken, oh the chicken. BK Bowl has nothing on it. WORD IS BOND.
In order to smorgasbord it, we strategized. One dude got the fried catfish box ($10)and another got the pulled pork sandwich box ($10). The 4th cat hates eating. I know, a shame. Good dude though. The catfish box consisted of 2 generous sized fillets with 1 side (black eyed peas), a block of cornbread, cole slaw, slices of pickle and a small puddle of homemade tartar sauce. I should be clear that it's all homemade. The catfish was banging. Lightly fried in a thin layer of cornmeal, the fish was extremely flaky and moist. Catfish isn't overpowering, well shouldn't be at least, and here was no exception. Very mild. The dill heavy tartar with the fish made for some very enjoyable eating. The black eyed peas were served cold, caught me off guard at first but decent. Rich and smoky. Didn't try the pulled pork but the way it disappeared with the quickness I'd say it was pretty good. Homeboy gave the nod of approval and proceeded to sip some White Rascal.
So we've handled our business and just shooting the shit letting everything digest when I hear the waitress come through the door and scream my name. Say my name, say my name... Apparently some extra food was ordered and the lovely PnT ladies thought we would appreciate it. You damn right. She brought over 2 plates- 1 catfish box with baked beans and 2 extra sides, mac n cheese and cole slaw. Mind you, we still had pie. Fuck that- we fat fucking it. But it's fish so it's light- right? What more is there to say. As if the chicken wasn't enough to put a ring on it (heavy with the Beyonce today), free food?? I'm smitten. I'll paint toenails. Braid hair. Whatever.
So it's a done deal that I'm heading back on Saturday. Not even a question. My boy was visiting from DC and he was trying to get his BK Trini bake and doubles on (I'll reserve that for a later post) so BK made sense. I'm all about slaying 2 birdies with one stone and that's how it went down. The game plan was fish and grits. Mornings was fish and grits ($9). Jada fucks with hash browns, this is how I gets down. But you don't understand. It was ALL about the fish and grits. Grits are hard to come by in NYC, but if I could order them at any diner/spot in the city instead of potatoes, best believe I would. As my pops says, FDP.
Threw an over medium egg on top just for GP. Breakfast without an egg might as well be lunch. Same applies to brunch. A little non-spicy tomato salsa on top brought some sweetness. I've already told you the fish was on point. And I just expressed my affinity for grits. That leads to quite the enjoyable dining experience. Though I was full and about to get my salt bake and phoulourie on, pie was a necessity. I refuse to travel far and wide and not slice it up. Coconut cream just because.
Brunch and dinner were conquered. A 3rd trip wasn't necessary. But then it happened. Sunday morning and spring came early. I was experiencing sun retardation. Not as in being slow, but as in poor judgment was all around me. Coffee'd up and copping fitteds, shirts, jeans. Life was motherfucking good. Jonesing for a Russ & Daughters bagel and lox. LESed it to find out half of NYC had the same idea. Line was out the door. Took a number and the thoughts started thinking. I'm downtown. Close to the bridges that connect Brooklyn. One of those bridges is the Williamsburg. Williamsburg is the home of Pies-N-Thighs. Need I go on?? The mind of a maniac. Not one that causes harm to others, just to himself. Someone help me. Please.
The image of the brunch menu popped up in the mentals. Banana short stack (#6). Fried chicken. Sweet. Savory. Etch that shit in stone. All systems go. Line was longer than I would have liked but I endured. Got the corner stool by the window in the back room. The french doors were open and the sunlight was shining bright. Rays hit the kid on some biblical shit. I was holding court in the corner. Excuse me miss, more coffee please.
Fun fact about the kid, I hate condiments. Condoms too. Hate babies more though. And hivs more than that. But I digress. Point is, I don't need maple syrup on pancakes or waffles, ketchup on a burger, etc. I let the ingredients shine. These banana pancakes illuminated. I was warm on all sides. Solar on one side, banana flap jacks on the other. Hold up- I used a little butter, just to lubricate. Them dry joints can pop early. Just sticking with the theme. Safe sex and banana pancakes. Ya dig?? The combo was better than any bagel and lox sandwich. There was some sort of bliss going on.
One would think that 3 days between Pies and Thighs (legs are more like it) would have satiated my desires. And I was doing well. Close to 2 weeks passed. No need to hit BK. Had a lobster roll here, a burger there. I was diversifying. Then the nice weather hit again and I'm on the Brooklyn Bridge, via foot, touristing it the fuck up. Photos on the span. Camera on the hip. "Wait, is that the Statue of Liberty?" Bikers screaming at me for not following the rules. Go fuck yourselves. Smiling. I was fucking smiling. I'm always mean-mug status, but this day I was cheesing. As if I arrived in JFK earlier that day from Anyplace, USA.
PnT wasn't on my mind. The Atlantic Chip Shop was but once I was there I figured the G train wasn't too far away. Fast forward I find myself walking down Broadway heading towards the hallowed ground on 4th & Driggs. Dapped my Hasid fam and kept it moving. I told them the food was Kosher style but they still reneged. I lied. Forgive me.
Line was short. Fried chicken box was on the agenda and then I see wings on the menu. Wasn't even a question. Got a stool in the back and waited for the grub. Met a nice local and we chatted it up. A recovering vegetarian mind you. 1 for the carnivores. She was eating the wings so I figured she was good money. And she didn't take any offense to my W'burg bashing. Sorry.
Wings were delicious ($5 for 6). Medium sized with a great crunchy exterior. Nice dosage of heat, but not tear-status. Frank's hot sauce? Possibly. Nice chunky blue cheese on the side. I was feeling good.
The fried chicken box with biscuit appeared next accompanied by a side of collard greens with smoked pork ($10). Yes, yes, and yes. The biscuit was better this time, baked all the way through. Greens were rich. Very rich. Cooked through, no stringiness, with some kick. Huge tender chunks of pork sitting atop money growing like grass with the mass appeal. I had super big eyes for this meal. Tarsier big. After trekking for miles around BK the appetite should have been major. I did my best. Knocked off close to everything with exceptions of half the greens and part of a chicken breast. I can do better, I know I can.
Being one not to mix savory and sweet on the plate, I will perpetuate that way of thought here. A pie post will be coming shortly. Believe me when I say I've eaten enough of their baked goodies to give more than ample feedback. Seriously though, after seeing all the lovely images above with witty and insightful commentary, what more do you need to go? Do you have no pulse? No tongue? No teeth? Then just go for the aromas. That good shit. Half a block away you know something special is on the horizon.
Oh yeah, the sweet tea ($2.50) is some of the best in the city. Breakfast, lunch and dinner you cannot go wrong. You can only go right. Very right. Put that Weezy, Jeezy and Drizzy on and enter Pies N Theezy...I'm going in, I'm going in...
166 South 4th St. at Driggs
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Monday through Friday
Saturday & Sunday
CLOSED EVERY DAY FROM 4PM TO 5PM.