Food & Drink

Why Is New York City So Obsessed With Whole Roast Chicken?

Published On 05/05/2016 Published On 05/05/2016
illustration of man with whole roast chickens
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist
Le Turtle | Cole Saladino/Thrillist
The Nomad | Daniel Krieger

“I’ve always thought the great mark of a chef is if they can roast a chicken."

Le Turtle | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

“It’s not on the menu just to be a safe option anymore."

Llama Inn | Courtesy of Llama Inn
Le Coq Rico | Courtesy of Le Coq Rico
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1. The NoMad 1170 Broadway, New York, NY 10001 (Nomad)

Housed in a historic arts building, The NoMad hotel is a stylish, Parisian-inspired luxury hotel with hardwood floors and handmade rugs. Inside the hotel is a bi-level library, an opulent lounge with a mahogany bar, and an upscale restaurant. Around the corner from the hotel is the much-lauded NoMad Bar (10 W 28th St), serving refined cocktails and upscale pub fare in a hip, lively space.

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2. Le Turtle 177 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

This modern French spot from Freemans' Taavo Somer and The Smile's Carlos Quirarte has all the qualities of a "hip" Lower East Side restaurant -- from the French rap and indie rock playing from the speakers, to the interior (brown leather banquettes, marble tables, a tucked-away "VIP" nook upstairs), to the it-girl and guy clientele. But Le Turtle is more than just a scene -- the menu features hit after hit of grandiose French dishes, like the whole chicken for two that's torched table-side. If you're looking for a night to indulge solo, grab a seat at the bar and order chicken liver mousse and a glass of wine.

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3. Llama Inn 50 Withers St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Williamsburg)

Erik Ramirez (previously of Eleven Madison Park) is bringing Peruvian food to Williamsburg via this brightly lit, triangular restaurant right by the BQE. The Peru-meets-New York menu focuses on small plates, and everything from the ceviche to the roasted meats is conducive to sharing. Pisco and small-batch wines, sourced mostly from Spain and South America, round out the drink menu.

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4. Le Coq Rico 30 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003 (Flatiron)

Le Coq Rico is the sister restaurant to Michelin-starred Chef Antoine Westermann's Montmartre bistro of the same name. Like its Parisian predecessor, this upscale Flatiron spot focuses entirely on birds. Specifically whole birds, like rooster, hen, squab, duck, and guinea fowl, which are raised for 90-120 days -- longer than the industry standard. The result is noticeably tender and more flavorful than any other poultry you'll find in New York. While it's clear what the star is here, Le Coq Rico's fresh-baked breads and pastries at brunch are Paris-level good.