Fried to PerfectionReal Dirty Rice For expat Southerners in the city, good fried chicken is something of a holy grail. There are a few decent contenders—Mama's Food Shop and Maroons, for example. But too often Southern cuisine is treated dismissively, as slop only to be mass produced. Now at last, a chef with a fine sensibility is doing it right. Dirty Bird is a new takeout spot specializing in fried chicken, and the verdict is in: This is the real deal. In the kitchen is Allison Vines-Rushing, a Louisiana native and a recipient of a James Beard award for rising chef. Formerly at Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar, she is now bringing it to the people at this tiny storefront. Sound familiar, Danny Meyer? We could have another Shake Shack on our hands.

Marinated, double-dipped in batter, and fried to a luscious deep brown, this chicken takes you to heaven on the first bite. Only free-range animals are used, and the meat has an unusually intense, almost sweet flavor. For $14.99, you get four pieces with your choice of two sides. Try the shallot cornbread, with the irresistibly crumbly consistency of shortbread, or the dirty rice, flavored with hot peppers and gizzards the way it's supposed to be. (Rotisserie, chicken fingers, and salads are also offered, but why bother when the main offering is so tasty?) Beware that the Bird has just opened and is a little overwhelmed from demand, so call first to check if they've run out of anything. And expect to wait—this isn't Popeye's—but in the end you'll be glad you did.