• 44 Ninth Avenue
• New York, NY 10011
• (212) 633-2473 •

Who doesn't love Southern food? It tastes great, doesn't have a dress code, rewards you for eating with your hands, and because saying it once simply isn't enough, tastes great. So it was with great anticipation that some friends and I were slated to dine at Iron Chef winner Chef Cat Cora's new Meatpacking District restaurant, Fatbird. I mean, who doesn't love Southern Food? Oof.

I arrived early and the hostess didn't play that game where they won't seat you until your whole party arrives. She gave a sweet table where I could people-watch, read a book, nurse a beer, and wait for everyone else to arrive. So far, so good. But from the moment she walked away, the dysfunction became apparent. I'd been given a menu then abandoned. No one came to take my drink order until I eventually flagged someone down, asked him if my table was one that he was responsible for, and ordered something. It didn't come. He just forgot about it. Later in the evening, when one of our party ordered a glass of wine, she was told that they were out of that wine. "Okay, I'll take this one instead." Sorry we're out of that, too. "What about this one?" No, sorry. "Maybe you should tell me what you actually do have and save us both some time," she said with irritation. I ordered a beer, but they were out. The head bartender came to our table to apologize. The wine and beer supplier didn't come. Here, have a glass of prosecco and a beer on the house.

Come time came to order grub, similar problems occurred. They were out of some appetizers and one of the most Southern of Southern foods, ribs, was all gone. "So did the meat supplier not show up either?" someone murmured. The waiter was AWOL most of the time, but I got the impression that he was the only one on duty at the time. We began asking the staff that was clearing tables to place our orders or flag down someone who could place them for us. When we did get a waiter, he told us that the there were six hushpuppies in the appetizer. Five arrived. One entree was incorrectly put into the system. One entree was missing a biscuit and it took half an hour for the staff to bring a replacement biscuit. They brought two and we turned down both. Meanwhile, the table behind ours called the manager over to dispute the bill.

After two months, growing pains and hiccups should have long been addressed, but there were a shit-ton of them; far more than I would have expected from a chef with enough celebrity cred to score a prime piece of NYC real estate. At least the food was good - Fatbird's saving grace.

Five. Yes, I am a small man, Bart. A small, petty man. Three months detention.

We ordered a round of Crab Hushpuppies on a cabbage radish salad, and Crispy Pork Belly. on a bed of Malted Kale Slaw (available as a separate side dish). The crab hushpuppies were roundly praised, with Mr. Dogz saying that they were maybe the best he'd ever had. The pork belly was good but the meat was far, far too small and the taste ended up getting lost when eating it with the slaw. That said, Sparkles was enamored by said slaw. "Hey Jon, make sure to tell people I like this!" Silly me, I ordered a side of white cheddar Mac & Cheese. The mac and cheese was extremely heavy, and sat in my stomach like a brick. This shouldn't have come as a surprise to me, since there's no such thing as light mac and cheese unless you order that vegan gluten free shit that tastes like wet cork in rotting yogurt. As for how it tasted, it was good, but didn't stand out. In fact, I forgot I ordered it until ten seconds before writing this sentence. Lutsy asked for a side of Fried Green Tomatoes. They were good. Tender, crisp, and sour, like they should be. They came with a very pleasant "Green Goddess Dressing" whatever that is (some kind of aioli), which rounded the whole dish out.

I wanted the ribs, but like I mentioned, they were out. Instead, I got a plate of the Famous Fatbird Fried Chicken, a fried half-chicken served with a biscuit (pretty good) and the kale slaw we all liked. The chicken was flat-out delicious. Crispy, flaky, not greasy at all, moist. Gothamist panned it but I suspect that the writer was jut pissed that he had to leave the comfort of his fellow beardo manbuns in northwest Brooklyn. If I hadn't had that damn mac and cheese, I might have been able to finish the chicken, but it just wasn't possible. Lutsy and Mr. Dogz ordered a plate of the Nashville Style Hot Chicken. Comparing the two, I surprisingly much preferred the not-hot version. While the Fatbird fried chicken was not greasy, a pool of orange grease pooled under the hot chicken. The skin wasn't as crispy and the heat was too high relative to the light taste of the meat. I liked the hot chicken to be sure, but I loved the regular chicken. Sparkles was the only one not to order fried chicken, instead opting for the Spicy Shrimp & Grits. With this dish, I didn't really find there to be that much spice, oddly. Actually, I thought it was pretty bland and I don't recommend this dish unless you're reaalllly craving grits for some reason.

We didn't order dessert, though the menu did have a bunch of comfort foods like bananas foster and strawberry shortcake that I could have easily been in the mood for had I not been so full. 

This feast, for four, after tax and tip, cost about $250.

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