Nashville – Prince’s Hot Chicken, City House, Crema

October 3, 2012 · 1 comment

in atlanta, dining out, out of town dining

Crema

Scenes from last weekend’s trip to Nashvillle.

We had dinner Friday upstairs at Merchants. It won’t blow your skirt up but does the trick if you want a good steak or similar. Service was excellent for a group of twelve too. A mountain of well seasoned greens for $6 was actually my favorite dish.

The next morning I visited Crema and had a nice espresso and coffee though the in house roast had a dominant paper bag/wood taste I couldn’t get around. I did have a killer caramelized onion tart with wonderful flaky, fat-dense crust.

Crema on Urbanspoon

eastside fish

Later that day I toured a bunch of restaurants/shacks based on the recommendations of a friend. I began at 10:30AM at Eastside Fish.

The fried catfish sandwich is a monumental achievement of street gastronomy. White bread, not stale, slightly softened from the smear of yellow mustard and hot sauce, crunchy with pickles and onions, stuffed with righteously crispy, cornmeal and spice crusted catfish. Damn.

Knowing I had a few more stops on my journey, it was right difficult to stop eating this before every last morsel was consumed.

eastside fish

East Side Fish on Urbanspoon

NEXT.

Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish. Open more often than Prince’s, and closer in town. I ordered a quarter (dark, duh) and specified “hot” though they didn’t ask.

While flavorful, the spice wasn’t all that hot, and I’m sorry to report the chicken was not good. Very, very overcooked. In fact, it’s tough to get a chicken thigh that dry. A disappointing first foray into hot chicken, save for my home attempts.

Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish

Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish on Urbanspoon

NEXT.

The champ, the infamous, the never open and in a seemingly dangerous area – Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack.

I was fifth in line when I got up there fifteen minutes before they opened at 2PM on Saturday.

prince's hot chicken

Lucky for me because my food came out quickly. I maybe waited twenty minutes total, which I’m told is rare.

I had a half chicken – medium. It’s hot.

prince's hot chicken

And a quarter chicken – hot. It’s muthaflippin’ ridiculous. I actually liked the flavor, it’s not just heat (though it does have that); the spice has body, a mid-palate, if you will. But once I started eating the hot chicken, I started sweating like crazy. A film crew from NYC was there and they asked if they could film me while I ate, and ask me questions such as, “Why are you doing this to yourself?”

In between questions the boom operator kept laughing and saying, “Look how much he is sweating!!!”

The chicken itself – fantastic. Really, it was excellent. Hot, crispy, juicy (even the breast), tender and easy to bite through. It was a truly great food experience. Until a few hours later. I felt terrible that night, and for another 24 hours I felt nauseous, with pain in my gut like I had an ulcer. Debatably worth it.

prince's hot chicken

Prince's Hot Chicken Shack on Urbanspoon

I pulled it together for dinner at City House, where they served us family style. We just ordered a couple of dishes from each menu category, and they increased the size to shareable portions. Another great group service experience. The overwhelming favorite dish was crispy octopus (though tender inside) with field peas and clams.

City House

Bresaola.

City House

Sausage with pickled zucchini and onions. Not pictured – top tier pizzas, catfish, and bloody red Painted Hills tri-tip.

City House

City House on Urbanspoon

Both evenings I had drinks late night at Patterson House. Unless you go late or early, the wait for this bar seating only temple beneath The Catbird Seat is atrocious. Almost as bad as the service, which ranged from negligent to condescending (“one guy called me an ironic sounding ‘boss’ at least five times.”)

I loved one drink, the soon to be poured bourbon drink with its own nifty carafe below, but couldn’t bother to finish the three others that I tried.

Patterson House

Patterson House on Urbanspoon

For good measure, I tried Rowdy’s chicken the night after we returned. Double fried, doused with dry spices at service. The best of his I’ve ever sampled. Somewhere between Prince’s medium and hot (on that day), right where I would want it to be. A mile better than H&F’s, though I do want to try One Eared Stag’s version. Nice work Rowdy.

rowdy hot chicken

A few more photos in the full set here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1090392469 Sean McGrath

    awesome! headed up there in January, so this is helpful. also enjoyed your Miso writeup.

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