Foodie Friday: Nashville Hot Chicken at Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen

carla hall logo

I recently had the pleasure of visiting celebrity chef and host of The Chew Carla Hall‘s newest food venture: Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen in New York City. As a Nashville native, Carla brings Music City’s most prized southern delicacy—Nashville Hot Chicken—to the Big Apple. Today, we take a closer look at Carla’s southern food concept and celebrate the delicious culinary creations she shares with the world.

 

 

hattie bs hot chicken

Nashville’s Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

As anybody who’s lived in Nashville for a while can tell you, Nashville Hot Chicken belongs in a category unto itself. Not to be confused with popular items like sauce-laden hot wings or typical southern fried chicken, hot chicken is a high-heat variation on fried chicken with a savory-spicy marinade and a gloriously generous coating of cayenne pepper.

 

For spicy food fanatics, it’s heaven on a plate—garnished with a humble slice of white bread and a few dill pickle chips. (If you’re interested in reading a detailed exploration of Nashville Hot Chicken, including the heavy-hitters Prince’s and Hattie B’s, check out the Serious Eats article here.)

Thanks to the spicy bird’s popularity both in Nashville and beyond, what better specialty to build an inspired menu around? In characteristic food-love fashion, Carla Hall enlisted the crowd-sourcing community power of Kickstarter in 2014 to make her Southern Kitchen a reality.

storefront southern kitchen

The menu offers a variety of pieces—named after areas of Nashville, and spice levels—increasing the amount of “hoot” heat you’d like to attempt. White meat fans will likely order The Gulch, while dark-meat devotees will prefer The Jefferson. Those who like a mix of both can opt for the 12 South, and the boneless chicken tender crowd can enjoy the East Park.

menu southern kitchen

The Hoot’n Heat Levels range from none to blistering: Southern (with no added spice), Hoot & Honey (sweet and spicy), Hoot (medium), Hootie Hot (hot), Hoot-N-Nannie (extra hot), and finally Boomshakalaka (the spiciest of all).

Southern Kitchen’s side items deliver true southern flavors, too. Picnic classics like Yukon Gold Potato Salad and Pimento Cheese and Ritz Crackers shine alongside some of the best Buttermilk Biscuits in the world and country-cooking favorites like Cole Slaw, Baked Mac ‘n Cheese, and Candied Yams.

love letter to nashville

Carla Hall’s Love Letter to Nashville

Carla’s personal touch is evident in every detail of Southern Kitchen, particularly her fondness for her hometown and its food traditions. She even has a “Love Letter to Nashville” written on the restaurant wall.

The entire aesthetic of the restaurant is welcoming and full of rustic charm—exposed brick walls, pickles in Mason jars like you’d find in your grandmother’s kitchen, chalkboards, warm wood, butcher paper, clean white honeycomb tile, flea market nick-knacks and heirloom-styled framed photos and vintage posters on display. The handwritten recipe cards arranged as a collage on the wall are an especially delightful homage to generations of cooking with love.

The group I led around New York and I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious food, the comfortable ambiance, and the outstanding Southern hospitality Carla and her team provided.

I want to extend an enthusiastic THANK YOU to Carla and her dedicated, southern-food-loving teammates for the fantastic meal and the inspiring foodie experience!

Happy Foodie Friday!

 

carla and steve

And, of course, for something a little weird…

alton brown taste test

Another food celebrity and culinary innovator, Alton Brown, recently performed a blind taste-test to determine which recipe he deemed the best Nashville Hot Chicken in Music City. Check out his unbiased—and entertainingly bumbling—sampling here!

Posted in: Food and Drink, Food Experiences, Food Trends, Foodie Friday

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