|All photos: Mary Brace|
My lunch companion was Rose Laycox, who runs the local Meetup group for ethnic food lovers, called "What the Pho." We tried to suss out what basic criteria for characteristics Nashville Hot Chicken is supposed to have. We agreed that it should be moist; tender; the heat shouldn't overwhelm the chicken flavor; it shouldn't be too greasy. Everything else is bonus.
|Feelin' hot hot hot|
Seating at Hattie B's is provided in the form of picnic tables, with smaller tables indoors and larger ones on the 19th Avenue South-facing porch. There's a little bit of a pub atmosphere in that, if you want to sit outside, and you don't have a party of 6 or more, you're going to sit with
|"Shut the Cluck Up" is the hottest you get|
Moisture: 7 Neither of us had any complaints, but I wouldn't write home about it.
Tenderness: 7 Again, good and tender, but nothing to stop a truck.
Flavor: 8 Now we're talking. Plenty of chicken savoriness came through the heat (hot; I tried a bit of Rose's dish and couldn't taste anything but hot hot hot), and during our wait the smells on the porch were whine-inducing. Of the coating, obviously there was cayenne, but there was more to it. This wasn't like someone just shook a jar of Frank's Hot Sauce over regular fried chicken.
Grease: 8 There was very little remarkable separation.
Atmosphere: 9 I likes it. I like the communal seating, I like that there's a screened-in porch in Midtown Nashville, and I like that the clientele is anything but homogenous.
|Cluck & Waffles (Sundays only)|
Overall: 8 Hattie B's makes a great yardstick for beginning our hot chicken journey. Definitely a place to return to.