photo credit: Kenny Yang
Charles Pan-Fried Chicken
When you stop by Charles Pan-Fried Chicken, an employee behind the counter might shout something like, “I got that cornbread,” and the whole team will reply with “Oooooooh” in unison. This ritual is clearly part of the deal if you work here, and it’ll make you smile.
The fried chicken at the Upper West Side outpost of this popular restaurant (which started in Harlem) is famously made in a cast iron skillet rather than a deep fryer, and the meat comes out tender beneath a well-seasoned crust. You typically won’t be able to specify what types of pieces you get in a plate, combo, or meal, but you can order pieces à la carte. Try to save some of your appetite for the pork ribs (get the sweet/tangy BBQ sauce on the side) or the humongous turkey wings smothered in brown gravy (add a side of white rice). The meat for both items falls off the bone with extreme ease.
On your way to the register, get some moist cornbread and choose a few sides, which are laid out in big pans. While both the peppery baked mac and cheese and pickle-forward potato salad suffice if that’s what you’re in the mood for, we suggest getting the deeply flavorful collards and black-eyed peas instead. You probably won’t get to try everything you want on a single visit, but what you walk out with will make you want to come back soon.