1/2 I had no idea I’d be eating at Amy Ruth’s on Saturday. I’d been sent to review Uptown Renaissance across the street, but it was shuttered and blanketed by a large For Rent banner. Urgh, it figures that when I’d venture out of my usual dining radius, I’d end up on a wild chicken and waffle chase. And I still wanted fried chicken, so crossing 116th Street was the obvious solution. And I was kind of happier because I like pork in my collard greens and Uptown Renaissance was halal.
Do restaurants really need velvet ropes? Maybe it’s all the rage above 42nd St. and I need to get out more. Luckily, it was still early and crowd control wasn’t necessary at 5pm. There were plenty of empty seats, and I’m still mystified regarding what’s so great about the upstairs dining room. I didn’t see it, but it must be amazing since it seemed like every other group that was seated in the main room made a fuss until they were relocated.
I love sweet/meat combos so honey-dipped fried chicken, The Terry Rivers (pardon my ignorance, but even after a cursory Google, I’m not sure who that is, though this Terry Rivers brightened my day) was kind of irresistible. I’m totally a diabetic waiting to happen and if anything is likely to increase my insulin resistance, it’s fried chicken swimming in honey.
Honey coated the bottom of the plate, perfect for dipping nubbins of crackly battered skin. The unexpectedly grotesque development was how ill matched honey and potatoes are. The treacly wetness soaked into my not-that-crispy-to-begin-with fries and rendered them sticky and creepy. Maybe if I closed my eyes and pretended they were sweet potato fries it would’ve be ok.
Hmm, it's a gold on gold entree. I didn’t want to copycat James’s chicken and waffle, The Al Sharpton (who needs no Googling). We both got sugar shocked, though I noticed very little maple syrup applied to his food. Instead, James also added Tabasco, a combo that reminded me a bit too much of the lemonade diet, which I'm still kind of angry for getting sucked into. The waffles are Belgian, by the way. Wha? I'm starting to think that I'm just confused and these big-squared concoctions are standard waffles.
And yes, I got my porky greens.
Amy Ruth’s * W. 116th St., New York, NY