They say you learn something new everyday. Today, i learnt that there are in fact two meanings for the word ‘biscuit’.
1) According to the British, this is a biscuit …
2) According to the Americans, this is a biscuit …
The American biscuit has some very strong British-scone-like characteristics. However on this side of the pond, they’re not eaten with lashings of clotted cream & strawberry jam and accompanied by a pot of English Breakfast tea in the afternoon – instead they’re paired with the likes of fried chicken and/or gravy. To me, the thought of such combinations is unfamiliar, a bit strange and to be honest, rather odd. And tonight was the night i tried it for myself.
On this lazy Sunday evening, we decided to hop on the ferry over to Williamsburg, admiring the cracking view of Manhattan behind us. We were in the mood for some serious comfort food, which led us nicely to Pies n Thighs, a small fried chicken joint close by Williamsburg Bridge (apparently serving some of the best fried chicken in the city).
This place is super popular & gets VERY busy – they don’t take reservations so either prepare for an hour long wait, or show up at an off-peak time (it opens at 5pm for dinner). The good thing is, you can add your name to the list & they’ll call you when your table is close to ready. P.S. As we waited, we saw plenty of hungry bodies arriving to collect their take out, and this seemed to be a popular alternative to the long wait in line.
Inside, the restaurant style is cute & quirky and the atmosphere is relaxed.
With so many yummy sounding dishes on it, we had a hard time choosing from the menu. N.B. If you’re not a fan of fried food or if you’re vegetarian, this isn’t the best place for you.
So here’s what we ordered …
The ‘Chicken Biscuit’ – a crispy chicken cutlet sandwiched inside a buttermilk biscuit and slathered in hot sauce & honey butter. The biscuit was flaky and buttery, the hot sauce kind of tangy and the honey butter was a real delight. Whilst each component of the dish was delicious, honestly, i struggled to fully appreciate them all together. Why? Because i couldn’t quite shift the conception of a traditional British scone with cream & jam from my head, and back in England, we wouldn’t dream of eating fried chicken with a scone! I also found it quite a heavy dish to eat, even though it wasn’t that big.
You can’t really go wrong with the ‘3 Piece Chicken Box’ (remember you can specify which pieces of the chicken you want) which is served with a buttermilk biscuit & your chosen side. The batter on the chicken was well seasoned, crispy & to my delight, un-greasy, while the meat inside remained tender & juicy. But frankly, i didn’t understand where the biscuit fitted into the dish so it ended up being left deserted on the sideline (i’d have been happier if i had substituted the biscuit for some baked beans i think).
P.S. I must give a special shout out to the fries though, which i adored – they tasted exactly like McDonalds fries although of a far. far better quality.
We couldn’t not try the Pies n Thighs famous ‘Chicken & Waffle’, which comes with fried chicken, and buckwheat waffles topped with cinnamon butter & roasted peaches. Plenty of people rave about this dish, so i was pretty excited.
This was my first ever encounter eating waffles & fried chicken together, and unfortunately, i didn’t get what the fuss is all about. I concluded that the pairing of sweet & savoury just doesn’t float my boat, just as i dislike the pancake, bacon & syrup combo (and yes, i know i’m in the minority in this country!).
The ‘special’ appetiser of Fried Green Tomatoes with pickled vegetables & spicy remoulade was pretty good.
The Pies n Thighs menu also has quite a few delicious sounding sides (cheese grits, burnt end baked beans & mac n cheese) which we just didn’t have room to eat.
We ordered one piece of catfish for the sake of trying it, and it was fine, but nothing to write home about.
The corn was mediocre.
Despite our stomachs being full to bursting & food comas on the horizon, we were adamant for a sweet ending.
The homemade Bourbon Pecan Pie was very nice, with just the right balance of bourbon & sweetness.
The crust on top of the Peach Cobbler tasted dough-ey & undercooked – a real shame, since the filling underneath was delicious and it would have been an excellent dessert otherwise. With hindsight, i’d have ordered the banana cream pie instead which i’ve heard is a winner.
Service from the Williamsburg-hipster staff was a mixed affair. The hostess at the front door was pleasant enough, and one of our waiters was lovely. However, the other seemed to have a bit of an attitude on him & wasn’t the most efficient at times.
Price-wise, it was an affordable meal & i’d say that Pies n Thighs provides good value for money.
Dips Bites: There’s no doubting that Pies n Thighs is super popular, but is it worth the hype? Yes, the fried chicken was pretty great & i’m definitely glad i tried it, but i’m not sure i’ll return. Why? The British-ness in me, meant that i ultimately struggled to comprehend the biscuit-fried chicken pairing and this, together with my dislike for the sweet & savoury combination in the chicken & waffle dish really impacted my enjoyment of the meal.
But overall, disregarding my English bias for a moment, i would say that Pies n Thighs is worth checking out if you’re in the mood for quality fried chicken & Southern style comfort food. Just get there early to avoid the queues.
166 S. 4th Street (at Driggs), Brooklyn
43 Canal (btw Ludlow & Orchard)