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I just joined the forum yesterday and did a quick search, so please forgive me if I missed a topic or posting about Nashville hot chicken. I did see one great post in the Nashville, TN topic - shout-out to ol_ironstomach.

I lived in Nashville for about 12 years and frequented all the hot chicken joints there, even going so far as to make a customized Google map and host a blind taste test. Please feel free to contact me for any Nashville travel recommendations.

Not long after my wife and I moved here last summer, Eater DC posted a guide to local options for hot chicken. I have tried the dish at the Maison Dixon pop-up (pretty good!) and at CRISP Kitchen + Bar (not as good!), and even just bought some GBD fried chicken (RIP) and coated it with spice from one of my favorite Nashville restaurants. It's an addiction.

Has anyone tried the versions offered at America Eats Tavern, Due South, or The Chesapeake Room? I don't see it on the menu for DS, but it's $23 on the brunch menu at AET and $19 on the brunch menu at TCR (for the record: ridiculous).

It looks like we can look forward to attempts from Trummer's out in Clifton and maybe another Carla Hall restaurant somewhere down the line. Are there any other options out there?

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I am still heartbroken about my one visit to Nashville, about ten years ago. I drove directly from the airport to Prince's to be there when it opened at noon (this was a saturday)....a crowd formed....and it never opened. :angry: And it was closed on Sundays. :angry:

Had some great food during my short visit at Sweatt's, Monell's, and the Loveless, but I really wanted to try that hot chicken.

My nephew will be starting at Vanderbilt in the fall, so hopefully I'll get there at some point. In the meantime, he and his dad have now had real Nashville hot chicken (they went to Hattie B's, which didn't exist when I visited), and I sitll have not. :angry:

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I am still heartbroken about my one visit to Nashville, about ten years ago. I drove directly from the airport to Prince's to be there when it opened at noon (this was a saturday)....a crowd formed....and it never opened. :angry: And it was closed on Sundays. :angry:

I used to drive through Nashville frequently and nearly always went by Prince's in hopes of getting some chicken.  I probably succeeded one time in three (hint --don't bother to try to call ahead-they don't answer their phone).  Long wait.  Great chicken.  I also tried Bolton's once -- also good but not as good.

Prince's is now a James Beard American Classics award winner.  No longer undiscovered.  Now that the dish is known there are many more places offering it.  Don't know how good any of them is. Caveat emptor.

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How was it? Can you compare it to the real thing?

Unfortunately, no. Even though I've been to Nashville several times (my brother is a Vanderbilt alumnus), I only remember going to one restaurant there that was anything more than your standard "meat and three," and I've never had Nashville Hot Chicken in Nashville.

That said, Fremont Diner (in Sonoma, CA) serves what is quite possibly *the* best breakfast food (really - *the* best) I've ever had in my life, all day long. If you're in Napa or Sonoma, it's worth a destination to find and experience, even though it's technically just a "roadside diner." This restaurant, and Oenotri in Napa, are my two favorite dining destinations in those two counties, and I've been to the area quite a bit. Based on their other food, I strongly suspect this chicken compares favorably with the real item (although it was served atop homemade waffles - does that disqualify it?) It was pretty darned spicy, but the spice was something akin to a dry rub - you can see a picture of it under the "Menu" section on their website.

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I've never been to Fremont Diner, but I have been to Thailand, and India, and eaten at the Laotian places and Prince's Hot Chicken (at the highest spice level) in 2011 was probably one of the spiciest single items I've ever eaten. I highly doubt that any non Nashville places are doing it equivalently. I'm sure your breakfast was good, but Prince's (at least in 2011) is some next level shit.

The coolest thing was the variety of people. It was like New Orleans. Little white kids, like 14 years old. Hipster food people like me. Bangers. Older black couples. And... Many people bring their own gallons of milk for cool down.

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I've never been to Fremont Diner, but I have been to Thailand, and India, and eaten at the Laotian places and Prince's Hot Chicken (at the highest spice level) in 2011 was probably one of the spiciest single items I've ever eaten. I highly doubt that any non Nashville places are doing it equivalently. I'm sure your breakfast was good, but Prince's (at least in 2011) is some next level shit.

The coolest thing was the variety of people. It was like New Orleans. Little white kids, like 14 years old. Hipster food people like me. Bangers. Older black couples. And... Many people bright their own gallons of milk for cool down.

Oh, is Nashville Hot Chicken supposed to be some kind of Scoville Tolerance Test like vindaloo? Ugh, not for me - the chicken at Fremont Diner was too spicy for my tastes, and it wasn't *that* spicy.

BTW: post-2-0-50709000-1459611631_thumb.jpg

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I don't know what it's "supposed" to be, what I'm saying is it is certainly distinct and unique, and the "copies" are likely frying chicken very well and making it somewhat spicy. But, what they do down there is incredibly fierce. I liked the 4/5 better because my esophagus didn't burn. It's not dry, but it's not soaked either. I think the premise of the place is that some dude was cheating on his boo, and when he got home from a dalliance his wife had chicken ready for him, and it was ridiculously spicy. But, the dude loved it.

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Based on their other food, I strongly suspect this chicken compares favorably with the real item (although it was served atop homemade waffles - does that disqualify it?) It was pretty darned spicy, but the spice was something akin to a dry rub - you can see a picture of it under the "Menu" section on their website.

I wouldn't disqualify it outright because of the waffles - a couple of HC restaurants in Nashville offer that option at least once a week. Granted, they're the newer places (I'd be remiss to leave out: white proprietors) but the food tastes good, so no love lost. I'll raise an eyebrow at folks that only order tenders (or, god forbid, grilled chicken), but other folks raise an eyebrow at my choice of ranch dip and extra pickles, so...

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Oh, is Nashville Hot Chicken supposed to be some kind of Scoville Tolerance Test like vindaloo? Ugh, not for me - the chicken at Fremont Diner was too spicy for my tastes, and it wasn't *that* spicy.

I have friends that routinely cry when eating Prince's mild. I rarely order the hottest heat level (X Hot at Prince's, Shut the Cluck Up at Hattie B's, 800 at 400 Degrees, etc). Here's my favorite evidence of the challenge:

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Oh, is Nashville Hot Chicken supposed to be some kind of Scoville Tolerance Test like vindaloo? 

Basically, yes.  But it's genuine, that is, the folks who eat it are doing so because they really like it for what it is. It's not like what goes on at those super hot wing places with eating contests that appeal to over-testosteroned college dudes who are trying to show everybody how manly they are.

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It goes on and off the menu, but the Spicy Chicken sandwich at Ray's Hell Burger has it's roots in the Nashville Hot Chicken style.

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Okay, I'm convinced: Fremont Diner doesn't play in this league. My friend and I noticed that, ugh, this chicken was a little too hot for the rest of the meal, and because of that, it was probably our least favorite item, but it wasn't *this* hot - not even close. Nor would I want it to be!

You know what? I just looked at the menu again - we didn't get the Nashville Style Chicken; we got the Chicken Biscuit. And *that* was fairly hot, so I wouldn't quite write off Fremont Diner's authenticity just yet.

I apologize, by the way, for going off on this tangent - a discussion of Fremont Diner doesn't belong in the Washington, DC Forum - this should be reserved for who (if anyone) has good Nashville Hot Chicken in the DC area.

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I was at Boltons last week and tried the least hot version and it was quite hot but edible. Not something I would eat all the time but worth trying.

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A friend and I spent the weekend trying three recent additions to the Northern Virginia hot chicken scene - it just so happens that all three have an Asian influence thrown in for good measure. Here are our results:

🥉Mama Mei's (inside The Block food hall in Annandale) wings look perfect - great color, slight shine, and good size. While the skin is pleasantly crispy and the meat is juicy, the flavor is dominated by oil and not very interesting - even the spiciest level ("hot mama") barely registers. Highlight is the hot honey walnut nuggs - chicken nuggets mixed with candied walnuts and broccoli in a Chinese takeout box.

🥈Wooboi (Herndon) wings are substantial and simply presented - the satisfying crunch is apparent even before the first bite. The meat could be a little juicier* but level 4 ("code red") has great flavor with mild Szechuan seasoning and strong heat. Level 5 ("code blue" - they make you sign a chalkboard waiver) ranks among the spiciest hot chicken I've eaten in the past 15+ years, but the intense and numbing spice mutes the flavor - even the level 3 sandwich has a noticeable kick but pleasant flavor. Good crispy waffle fries reminiscent of Arby's curly variety.

*caveat - these sat in the car for about an hour

🥇Hot Lola's (inside the Ballston Quarter food hall) does not offer bone-in chicken, but the tenders are meaty, the sandwich has a heavily seeded bun, and the tender dog (exactly what it sounds like) is a solid novelty. Since there's no skin, there's very little breading and crunch. The meat has a nice chew, and the flavor is outstanding - a slight sweetness and a strong Szechuan buzz, most pronounced in the OG and Too Hot levels, but also noticeable in the Dry Hot. Best pickles of the 3 - sizable and crinkle-cut.
 
---
 
Hot Lola's (funkyfood)
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While walking in Crystal City yesterday, I saw that the Good Stuff Eatery had a sign out front for Nashville Hot Chicken, so on a whim I got one.  It was unremarkable in every way and barely hot at all.  It seemed like a run of the mill chicken breast with some breading and doused in some (not so) hot sauce.   If I didn't know Nashville Hot Chicken was a thing, I'd have no idea this sandwich was "special".  In spite of all that, it was still better than Chick-fil-a

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I have not had the chance to try Hattie B's but I will say I enjoyed the Horse Inn's Music City Hot Chicken. It is so good, I often order one for now, and another for later.

A Martins sesame seed bun holding together the tastiness of a seriously HOT chicken thigh coated in a breading that has notes of both sweet & spicy, piled high with a creamy cabbage slaw with bits of blue cheese. It has become my favorite on the menu when it is available. 

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2 hours ago, Tweaked said:

This is becoming like the cupcake craze of 2008. 

I'm not one to jump on crazes, so I'll just grab a chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A and douse it with Texas Pete's....

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I'm hoping to get a chance to check out Howlin' Rays next week in LA.  Evidently so long as you're on line by 7pm, you still get served.

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