Chicky’s on 86
There are a bunch of not-quite-fast-food charbroil grills all around the Upper East Side. Many of these specialize in chicken, done “their way” and served ridiculously cheaply for the amount of bird for the buck.
I’ve been passing Chicky’s on 86 for many, many years (I used to live closer), but failed to give them a shot. Until this recent evening, when I went on in and ordered half the menu with a friend for consumption at home.
Chicky’s offers a variety of entree choices, but… the name’s Chicky’s. We’re concentrating on chicken, with of course side dishes. The order took at best ten minutes to fill and we were on our way, with a lot of styrofoam in tow.
First up, the wings. There wasn’t much of a description on these, but we asked for them mild, and they came with a reasonably cheesy bleu cheese sauce on the side. For being so mild, they had a tanginess to them that came across rather spicy — not peppery spicy, but… something else. Very interesting — it reminded me of a vinegary sourness but then kicked up for wing prep. These weren’t supposed to be mine to eat, but I ate almost half all told.
My choice was, naturally, a half chicken. Normally I’d get all dark meat, but in the interests of science, et cetera, breast and wing came along for the ride. Interestingly, or just oddly, the chicken comes with a pita, quartered; I didn’t figure out the purpose there.
At any rate, these are two decently-sized quarters of grilled goodness. Okay, this drumstick interior shot is a little blurry, but I think you can understand when I say the meat stayed rather juicy, and the seasoning on the skin made that a worthwhile pursuit, rather than removing it and concentrating on the meat itself. I appreciate the outdoor grill flavor imparted, too.
The breast fared all right, but suffered as chicken breasts so often do with chunks of simply too-dry meat. Close to the skin was perfectly good and picked up a little of the smokiness and char, but deep into the breast I considered whipping up a mayonnaise-based sauce in which to dip the white meat. Still, it was about average, and as this chicken was cheap (under $9 for the half), still a good value. I’ll stick to dark-meat only in the future.
Impulse buy — fried zucchini! I know, I know, it isn’t exactly haute cuisine, but I am a lover of deep-fried everything. I wish they were crisper, but they at least retained an interesting texture on the inside. I’m going to hope against hope that these were battered fresh; I haven’t seen anything to the contrary, and the zucchini itself was in good shape. These were my favorite side of the evening.
Then there was the mashed potatoes and gravy. Chicky’s gravy is a deeper brown than the typical takeout gravy, so I concentrated there.
The potatoes were serviceable, but I wouldn’t miss them if I didn’t order them next time. Boring, and the gravy didn’t rescue them with can’t-miss flavor.
The waffle fries were seasoned nicely, however, and stayed crisp without problems. I didn’t stop eating these throughout dinner. Plus, plenty for leftovers!
All this totaled less than $30 with tax. Worth it? Certainly. Chicky’s provided a good set of grilled chicken, and the wings were a surprise. A bunch of starches and fried food never hurts, either. Granted, I’d switch out some of the side orders now, and I would stick to the dark meat grilled chicken, but I’m open to trying other menu items just to find their strengths. I wouldn’t make a special trip, but if you live around here, I think a visit is in order.