Finally we found the fried chicken place we were looking for the other day. I am not sure why it was so difficult considering when we were at Marco’s we could have stood at their door and looked straight at it. For some reason I thought it was on Keystone, so we were looking in the wrong place. Anyhow, this time we came prepared with the actual address (always helpful) and very easily went straight to Mississippi Belle where my fried chicken quest could continue.
The interior of this place is decorated much like a large scale version of your Grandma’s house in the 70s. Friendly though, once someone noticed we were there. Since there were menus on the tables, we assumed we were just supposed to sit anywhere, which we did. I think there were only a couple of people working and the first 5-10 minutes we were there, they were apparently cooking or something. Anyway, once we were spotted, we were quickly served and our order taken. And we did not wait long at all for our food.
Well, we were obviously here for the fried chicken, but there are other main dishes on the menu as well. For lunch, they offer baked chicken, meatloaf, ribs and a couple forms of roast beef, as well as a few other things. Each plate comes with 2 sides and “hot water corn bread.” With the intention of sharing, I got the all white plate and hubby had the all dark meat. We shared the sides of mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and fried cabbage.
But let’s start with the cornbread. So I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with “hot water cornbread,” but these were kind of yummy. They were like little discs of fried corn bread batter, almost like a fried biscuit in their consistency. They were quite crunchy on the outside, until about half way through where they were more soft and doughy. I enjoyed them, although I had a desire for something sweet (apple butter maybe?), or even some sweet cream butter to put on them. Hubby really liked them.
But on to the heart of the matter, the chicken. In a word, it was good. Very good in fact. This chicken is pan fried, not deep fried, so it doesn’t have the super thick crust like some does, but the crust itself was crisp and had a lot of flavor. This was what I found lacking at some other places--there was no seasoning on the chicken. Mississippi Belle had a good amount of seasoning—you could see it on the skin. The breast was probably one of the more tender I have had when it comes to fried chicken, which is very hard to pull off. While I probably love the crust at MCL the best, the meat there is often a bit too dried out. This was not the case here. And the wing was even better. I had some of the dark meat and it was (naturally) moister as well. All in all, this chicken is up there for me. Has the homemade flavor, and is not cooked to death. Like I said, this is not battered in anyway, but the skin is seasoned and fried crisp.
The sides were also quite good. Hubby continues to talk about the mashed potatoes and gravy. He really liked the gravy. (“It tastes like someone actually made it!”) Now I am not a gravy person when it comes to potatoes, but I didn’t think to ask for it without and so did have some. It was pretty good as far as gravy goes for me. But I am getting the potatoes next time without it. The potatoes were creamy and tasted like potatoes.
The mac and cheese was really good I thought. Not the bright orange variety—elbow noodles with a slightly more “found in nature” type coloring, a creamy yellow. And you could see the flecks of pepper in it. Hubby thought it looked like macaroni salad when he first saw it, and initially thought it was cold. But it wasn’t. But that gives you an idea of what it looks like. It was really tasty. Nice and creamy and again, well seasoned. I would get this again in a heartbeat.
The cabbage wasn’t bad, but wasn’t super exciting (and I do generally like cooked cabbage). I am not sure what part was “fried” tasted more like boiled to me, but it had a little more flavor to it I guess than just pure boiled cabbage, but not that much. I enjoyed it ok, but I am not sure I would get it again.
I am excited to have this place around (and not that far from home). From now on when I want to get a bunch of chicken, I am going to get it carry out from here. I like knowing it is freshly made, and the sides aren’t coming out of some corporate container that was shipped in from somewhere else. And I think my kids will love this place—this is their kind of cuisine. And I will enjoy taking them somewhere local as well.
So I guess in conclusion, while I probably still think MCL has my favorite fried chicken when it is fresh and cooked perfectly (which maybe happens maybe about 60% of the time), this is up there. A completely different style, but for what it is, it is very well done.
2170 East 54th Street