1/2 Van Horn is one those places like Rucola, Strong Place, Court Street Grocers, Brucie, and countless others walkable from my apartment, that get enough chatter without me adding to it (plus, I haven’t eaten at any of them). Maybe you’ve heard of Van Horn’s fried chicken sandwich? Up until last week, I nearly felt like I’d eaten it already.
Now I have. It was impressive in person, the lightly battered chicken breast bulging out of its sesame seed bun. The weird thing was that the red cabbage slaw tasted more like shredded beets in that dirty way the root vegetable can. It added a healthy aura too. This was haute Chick-fil-A , not a substitute.
I prefer my Southern sandwiches to be less virtuous, though, and the PLB oozing with pimento cheese and further greased-up with bacon (then toned back down slightly with a lettuce leaf) was the exact late-ish night snack I had been looking for. The cheese blend was complex and hinted at more than mere cheddar and mayonnaise (in fact, they use garlic aioli).
It’s easy to poke fun at artisanal updates to classics (I’m still surprised that it took a mayonnaise shop to finally push the food world over the edge) but the hushpuppies–super light and nearly creamy inside–were better than anything I was served in North Carolina last month. The honey butter didn’t hurt their case.
By the way, these horrible photos were taken by my horrible phone, which I replaced with the new iPhone two days after this meal. Eventually I cave to most trends (though I’m stating right now that these scrunchy socks will never appear in my drawer or on my person). However, the jury’s still out on apps like instagram and foodspotting (hipstamatic is banned on name alone) and that’s because I’ve been trying to cut down on food photos, not increase my output (and I kind of hate social sharing, despite embracing Twitter and well, blogging before blogs formally existed, even though sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on something indefinable). I’m loathe to give up the SLR for portrait-worthy foodstuffs, even if it makes me a so-called food paparazzi, but I can’t see a camera phone, even a good one, replacing my real camera. Do people actually use both in one setting? I’m afraid of the future now.
Van Horn * 231 Court St., Brooklyn, NY