1123 Broadway
New York, NY 10010
(212) 257-6446

With the success of Hill Country Barbecue comes Hill Country Chicken, the second installment of good ol' boy soul food inspired by the Duke brothers, across the street from Madison Square Park on 25th Street and Broadway. This homage to depression era-greasy spoons is within spitting distance of the upscale food court Eataly, and if I had to choose between the two, I'd easily choose Hill Country.

There's no table service and with the downstairs closed at the time that I was there, not many tables, either. Everything is pre-made so you order your meal fast-food style. The thing is, there are so many people coming and going, sitting or taking their meal to go, that you're guaranteed to get the food fresh. The modern chandeliers and the credit card machines are the only things here that feel new. The floors are the yellow tile that remind one of an abandoned Waffle House and the tables are the faux-marble formica kind that Dwight Eisenhower's mom would have sat at while reading the Kansas Star Tribune.

You can get legs and thighs if you want to go the traditional route, but most people I saw were ordering the Texas Tenders baskets. They come in baskets of three, five or ten. I ordered the three. They. Were. Perfect. The batter was slightly flaky, but not crumbling-all-over-the-plate so and just slightly sweet. Inside, the chicken was about as far from dried out as one can get. You can choose from a honey mustard sauce, a barbecue sauce, or a ranch dressing sauce to dip the tenders in, but I almost say don't bother. Instead, head to the fixings station and grab a little hot sauce and honey. You won't regret it. The Buttermilk Biscuit was a natural accompaniment to the fried chicken, but was a little dry. If they had any butter, I'd have used it. Instead, I dipped it in the 'cue and some honey. Hill Country's side of Cole Slaw, which they give you a scoop the size of a baseball, was mediocre and tasteless. I washed all this down with a can of beer.

I returned the following day and ordered a Texas Hand Roll (and French Fries and a Pabst). Fried chicken, coleslaw, sweet and sour sauce, sesame seeds and almonds wrapped in a wrap. It was a little sweet... but awesome. Give it a healthy dose of hot sauce and you'll be in floating on cloud nine. The "small" size fries are huge. Huge and delicious. Slightly soggy, but so good. Perfectly salted.

Something Hill Country prides itself in are its pies. I tried two. First, the Bourbon Pecan Pie, which was so good it should be illegal, and, in keeping with the boozy theme, I followed that up with a slice of the Whiskey Buttermilk Pie. I wasn't sure what to expect, but my God. Smooth, sweet, heavenly.

Hill Country fools you into feeling cheaper than it is. You look at the menu and go "hey, that ain't too bad!" But the trick is that everything is a la carte. Everything is extra. A fried chicken breast is $5.50 and a wing is $1.75 with drumsticks and thighs in-between. If you were to order enough to piece together your own chicken, it would run you $26.

My dinner, a three-piece chicken tenders, plus the biscuit, plus the cole slaw, plus one can of beer, plus a slice of pie (plus tax) was about $24.

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