Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken
2839 Frederick Douglas Blvd (151 St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 281-1800
I was craving soul food and I had heard about a man named Charles who owned a restaurant in Harlem called Charles’ Pan Fried Chicken. Apparently this guy was a force to be reckoned with in the New York City fried chicken business. He started selling chicken from a truck back in the 1990s. Eventually he opened Charles' Southern Style Chicken, but that place didn't make it. A car smashed into the storefront in 2008. In 2009 he opened his current place. So I took the B train uptown to 155th Street. Charles’ restaurant is a few blocks down Frederick Douglas Boulevard on the right hand side.
The ambience, well, this isn’t the reason you come here. There are three small tables and no air conditioning. Not a plus on a humid mid-September afternoon. But the food…the food is worth the trip. For around twelve bucks ($10.99 plus tax for the lunch buffet) you get all you can eat chicken with sides, desserts, and lemonade or ice tea to wash it all down.
The waitress piled up my plate with two kinds of chicken, a helping of the traditional southern fried chicken and another of the pan fried chicken smothered in deliciously thick gravy. Both were tender and juicy and well worth my trip uptown. Some of the sides weren’t so bad either. I especially loved the butter and herb green beans. I have no idea how he cooked them, but I could have passed over the collards greens and the Mac and Cheese for another plate of those. The collard greens were too greasy and the Mac and Cheese was dry and definitely not cheesy enough. No complaints on the candied sweet potatoes.
For dessert I had a cupful of the banana pudding. Gooey and filled with bananas, it was just delicious! Charles couldn’t take the credit for making it though, one of his waitresses does. Overall, Charles’ Pan Fried Chicken had some well worth it hits, and a couple of misses. I left stuffed, satisfied, and craving another plateful the next day.
Review By: Andrea Muller