Mark our words, the “Summer of the Fried Chicken Sandwich” (instigated by Fuku, ShakeShack, Mighty Quinn’s et al), may soon give way to the “Autumn of the Veggie Burger,” foreshadowed by Superiority Burger, Nu Burger, and No. 7 Veggie. But before the tide inexorably turns towards virtuous bean and seitan patties, there’s still time to pay your respects to Brooklyn’s best deep-fried contenders in all their many forms, from the Israeli pitas at Batata to the Mexican cemitas at El Tenampa to the all-American gut-bombs at Shake Shack.
Shake Shack’s ChickenShack: Seemingly in direct answer to Fuku, Shake Shack jumpstarted fried chicken mania in Brooklyn, debuting it’s first ever limited edition sandwich—an agreeably crunchy and craggy cutlet, crowned with lettuce, pickles and buttermilk mayo—at its three borough locations. And, just as at Fuku, it promptly sold out, allowing buzz to exponentially grow during the single, ChickenShack-free week that followed.
Batata’s Schnitzel Pita: At the teeny Israeli storefront, Batata, fried chicken comes in the guise of floppy breaded schnitzel, tucked into plush pitas with swaths of tahini, a tumble of sautéed mushrooms and fried onions, and a scoop of Israeli salad, made with coarsely chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers, enlivened with lemon juice and fresh mint.
3021 Fort Hamilton Parkway, Windsor Terrace
The Heyward’s Fried Chicken Sandwich: We appreciate how the Heyward’s sandwich strays from the trending, fast food formula, by tipping its hat to both po boys and hot fried chicken, featuring N’awlins-sourced French bread and lip-tingling cutlets of boneless poultry, that have been liberally brined and sauced in a scarlet pepper puree.
258 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg
Steve’s Pork Store’s Fried Chicken Hero: Brooklyn may be ground zero for overstuffed Italian heroes, but we’d pit the sandwiches at Steve’s against Defonte’s or Lioni’s any day of the week. A mere $6.50 buys you a full length of Cammareri bread (the place Nic Cage so famously toiled in Moonstruck) paved with house-made mozzarella and antibiotic-free chicken taken straight from the butcher case, and moistened with clods of garlic-bombed broccoli rabe.
1602 Bath Avenue, Bath Beach
El Tenampa’s Fried Chicken Cemita: The Dagwood of chicken sandwiches, Mexican cemitas at this Sunset Park deli are outfitted with crescents of avocado, red onion and iceberg lettuce, laid atop thinly-pounded planks of fried chicken, and positioned on a landing pad of mashed black beans, crumbly white cheese and tangy crema.
706 4th Avenue, Sunset Park
Eugene and Co.’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich: Chewy ciabatta may be a distinctly more challenging a vessel than, say, Martin’s potato rolls, but it eases up under the weight of a tawny-crumbed brick of chicken, piled with peppery watercress and a rainbow of pickled vegetables.
397 Tompkins Avenue, Bed Stuy
Boomwich’s Buffalo à la Chicken: Essentially a buffalo wing in sandwich form, chicken chunks are set aflame in rivers of Frank’s Red Hot, before being nestled in pretzel rolls alongside nobs of milky, fresh mozzarella, and haystacks of ranch-tossed celery-carrot slaw.
311 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill
Montana’s Trail House’s Chicken Biscuit: The Commodore and Pies n’ Thighs definitely hold dominion in Williamsburg, but Montana’s Trail House is where Bushwick brunchers are advised to go for their fried chicken biscuit fix, anointed with honey butter, apple jam and house hot sauce.
455 Troutman Street, Bushwick