Every picky eater knows that moment when there is “nothing” on the menu. Their eyes dart from page to page. Sweat beads form when they see the specials only feature seafood. They’re too old to order from the kid’s menu.
“Why didn’t I just eat before I came,” thinks the average picky eating adult (aka PEA—yes, they have an acronym, and even an online support group).
Then they find it—the good old standby: chicken. Grilled, roasted, sautéed, breaded—it doesn’t really matter. Chicken is safe. Chicken won’t let you down. Chicken always makes it home in time for dinner.
But not all chefs are determined to put the popular poultry in that sheltered corner. Sometimes the simple bird deserves some sparkle, maybe even its own special. In these cases, the picky eater may have to deal with some extra carbs and order the boring pasta dish.
Here are some exciting chicken dishes for you to try:
Pollo A La Brasa Misti Restaurant, Port Chester
A rotisserie chicken that’s exciting? Pollo A La Brasa Misti’s namesake dish, which comes with a side of rice and a salad, is infused with Peruvian flavors via paprika, rosemary, cumin, and garlic seasonings, plus spicy mustard and a green ajai (a creamy hot sauce) as accompaniments. This is leaps beyond your typical supermarket rotisserie bird.
Crispy Chicken with Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes, Roasted Corn & Tomato Salad
One Twenty One, North Salem
They start with all dark meat chicken thighs, because they are juicier than white meat and stay more tender throughout the cooking process. Then they infuse their batter with nitrous oxide to make it lighter and crispier than traditional batter. Since they don’t use buttermilk, the crispy chicken is not too heavy, but they use a siphon gun to provide more air, which gives the dish the same type of consistency as traditional fried chicken.
Blackened Chicken Po’Boy
Rye Roadhouse, Rye
People sometimes think blackened just means heat, which it does! But it’s a heat packed with flavor. In their blackening seasoning, Roadhouse uses 15 different spices—a blend of traditional flavors like garlic, cumin and black pepper, plus more floral Caribbean spices chosen by their original chef, who was born and raised on St. Vincent Island. The po’boy is served with a homemade Cajun remoulade that gives it a real Louisiana flavor.
Roadhouse Chicken and Waffles
Rye Roadhouse, Rye
We couldn’t choose between this and the Roadhouse blackened chicken po’boy, so we included both. This Southern-style mix of sweet, savory, and spicy is certainly not for the boring eater. Roadhouse serves a house-made Belgian style sweet potato waffle and its award-winning (Best of Westchester 2015) fried chicken with chipotle-steeped maple syrup. They do not even dare to unleash this guilty pleasure upon the summer dinner crowd. It’s only available for dinner on Thursday nights in the fall and winter. Not to fear, if you’re craving it now, they have it on the Sunday brunch menu all year-round.
Acuario, Port Chester
This Peruvian hotspot offers plenty of options for chicken, but the pollo saltados, one of their signature dishes, is also a favorite among patrons who are native speakers. It’s a chicken stir-fry with onions, tomatoes, soy sauce, and vinegar over fries and rice.
Fried Chicken Karaage
Mokomiya, White Plains
Karaage is Japanese-style fried chicken—large chunks of tender white chicken breast, served with a side of lemon. This ramen shop does this appetizer right, juicy inside and crispy out.
Birdsall House, Peekskill
It sounds simple, but the Birdsall House’s organic, fresh, and local ingredients make this one special chicken sandwich. They use organic chicken, bacon from Hemlock Hill Farm in Cortlandt Manor, local arugula, and porter onions with homemade malt vinegar mayo on a soft baguette. It’s served with a fresh mixed salad on the side.