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« This just in: booze, schmooze, & news you can use | Main | Dinner at Scarpetta »

Dinner at Hill Country Chicken

I'd been eagerly anticipating the opening of the Hill Country family's second Texas-themed venture, a "fried chicken shack" aptly named, Hill Country Chicken.  The vison behind this concept?  Well, it's simple: introduce and serve Texas-inspired fried chicken and comfort food to hungry New Yorkers.

Located within a bi-level space - just a block from Hill Country BBQ - the self proclaimed "chicken shack" is hardly that: from its peppy-colored linoleum flooring, kitschy cafeteria-style ordering system, spacious atmosphere, and ample seating, Hill Country Chicken is kind of like a small town's homecoming-queen, or that girl whom you went to high school with that drastically outshone the rest of her less attractive, far less interesting "competition."   

*Many of my photos from this meal can be found on Flickr

**Note: to date, I have both dined-in and taken-away from Hill Country Chicken

The good

  • Spacious setting
  • Kid-friendly
  • Casual and comfortable
  • Since you're basically serving yourself, you don't have to tip anyone
  • Bakery on-site
  • Cowboy Pie: aside from crack, this heavenly rendition of the "magic cookie bar" is laced with chocolate chips, shredded coconut, butterscotch chips, and pecans - bound together by sweetened condensed milk - and enveloped by a buttery, graham-cracker crust.  I'm willing to bet money that this pie will send you in to the most intense, flavor-induced food orgasm that you've ever experienced.  I recommend the $3 individually-portioned "pie cup," as opposed to the pricey $5 "slice."  Go and get your fix today!

Take-out from Hill Country Chicken: "Cowboy Pie

  • Biscuits: dense, buttery, and both crunch and salty in all of the right places - if you're looking for "fluffy," then you're going to hate this version

Take-out from Hill Country Chicken: homemade biscuit

  • Chicken tenders: instead of manning-up and bringing my camera whilst "dining-in," I'm going to have to recount this chicken tender moment from memory.  For $6.50, I received three mammoth-sized chicken breast strips that had been dredged in, what appeared to be, a Saltine cracker-based breading.  The meat was incredibly juicy and moist, without the slightest discoloration or exposed vein.  And, all three of my tenders were cartilage-free, thank god.  To dip, I chose a honey-mustard sauce (first sauce is free), in addition to a side of ranch dressing that came with a price tag.  "This sure ain't Whataburger," I mumbled, while recalling "the good ol' days" back in Texas when chicken-tender dipping sauces were free - even in mass quantities.

The bad

  • Pimento cheese: where I come from, this cheddar cheese + mayonnaise + pimento pepper "dip," if you will, is not only spreadable, but served at a temperature that's closer to "room temp," as opposed to "fresh out the ice box."  Unfortunately, the version at Hill Country Chicken was dense, too chunky, and disturbingly chilly.  I threw that crap out!

Take-out from Hill Country Chicken: fauxmento cheese

  • Strawberry-lemonade: to be fair here, I am NOT complaining about the *taste* of this beverage because, honestly, I enjoyed it.  I applaud a glass of lemonade that seamlessly combines both sweet and sour.  However, I am hard-pressed to believe that the version at Hill Country Chicken is "freshly squeezed," as the menu so claims.  There's a suspicious Country Time-esque lingering aftertaste that I simply cannot explain, other than chalk it up to  Hill Country Chicken being full of crap.  There's not even an ounce of pulp, much less a strawberry seed, floating around!  Something smells fishy to me.
  • There is no butter or honey to accompany the biscuits.
  • Extra dipping sauces come at a price.

The ugly

  • While it's a nice break to not have to tip someone every now and again, that doesn't mean that I'm any less disgusted by the prices that  Hill Country Chicken is charging its suckers customers:
  1. Fried breast of chicken, $5.50
  2. Glass of "freshly squeezed" strawberry-lemonade, $3.25
  3. Slice of pie, $5
  4. Whole pie, $40 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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Reader Comments (1)

Lindsay ... you think food prices are high in NYC you need to come to Kuwait one day .... I'm constantly experiencing sticker shock. Most of the food is imported and if you want specialty brands from the US or UK (Eur) then get ready to fork over some serious dough.

Just the other day at Dean & Deluca I forked over about USD 25.00 for appr. 200 grams of Prime Rib from the prepared food counter ....

March 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRandy

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