Nashville style hot chicken. You hear this term, and you think it must refer to special fried chicken. Peaches Hothouse, a cute restaurant in Bedford-Stuyvesant, offers up this style of chicken, apparently inspired by a road trip through the South which the owners took.
I was excited for Peaches. The Dutch, where I had the best fried chicken I've tasted in New York, had a nice kick to it. Perhaps a bit of hotness was what had been missing from the loads of mediocre fried chicken I've tasted?
At Peaches, you have options: regular, hot or extra hot. My friend and I ordered extra hot, despite the admonishments of our waitress, who furrowed her brow and called the extra hot "unbearable." Who do you think you're talking to, I retorted. Now bring us the extra hot, or I will have your head on a plate!
The chicken arrives. I start to eat. As my fried chicken buddy states, it is a "slow burn." It got to the point where it was so hot it wasn't particularly enjoyable. "Unbearable" might be too strong a word, but our waitress was probably right to try and dissuade us.
There are some dishes that I like incredibly hot, namely Thai dishes, because they'll have cooling elements or refreshing textures that offset the intense heat. Extra hot Nashville fried chicken, though, felt like a demonic elf had sliced me repeatedly with shards of paper and then dragged me across vinegar acid for all eternity, or at least like a really bad rug-burn that's sprayed with a strong antiseptic (I have personal experience with the latter).
I got a bit used to the hotness. Some pieces weren't as hot, allowing me to analyze the chicken. All-in-all, it was an all right fried chicken. It's a nice place if you're in the neighborhood, although it only warrants a trip for the fried chicken obsessed who must try every fried chicken possible due to some chemical imbalance/childhood trauma.
Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn