The New Yorker: Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter
Not too many weeks ago, portions of Alphabet City were inundated during the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy. Bobwhite, a minuscule spot serving Southern favorites, sustained moderate damage, when its basement flooded. But perhaps most crippling to it and hundreds of other small downtown restaurants was the loss of power for nearly a week, which meant no refrigeration, and no customers. Now Bobwhite is back on its feet, thanks in part to the simplicity of its menu: fried chicken and catfish. Both are available either on a sandwich or as a supper plate, with a fluffy biscuit and a side of coleslaw. Occasionally, there are specials: a Buffalo-chicken sandwich was exactly what it sounded like—something a nineteen-year-old might concoct in a college dining hall—and just as satisfying, for about eight dollars. Not to be missed is the butterflied-pork-chop sandwich, which is surprisingly juicy and tender. The sandwich comes dressed with chowchow, a traditional Southern pickled-vegetable relish that adds brightness and tang.
In a city at risk of fried-chicken fatigue, Bobwhite distinguishes itself. Its meat is brined in sweet tea, and the skin is consistently crackling and crisp, with just enough pepper and spices to be both noticeable and memorable.