Our latest installment of Quick Bites brings us to two Manhattan spots serving up chicken: Fatbird and Fuku.

THE VIBES
I had never heard of famous TV Chef Cat Cora until a couple of weeks ago, when Fatbird, a fried-chicken-based restaurant taking over a prime Meatpacking corner was announced as opening imminently. I dropped by and dined at an outdoor table in Fatbird's wrap-around sidewalk seating area, which seemed appealing until I realized the block was redolent with mildew and swamp. Still, I love good fried chicken... unfortunately, there wasn't any here.

David Chang, another celebrity chef (though one who became famous for his cooking), also recently opened a new spot. Though I can't really afford most of his restaurants anymore, almost everything from his burgeoning fast-casual Fuku empire always hits spot. And so I was optimistic once more as I headed to the brand-new Wall Street Fuku which, in addition to all of the usual excellent Fuku things, serves up a too-tempting-to-resist whole bird feast called the Chimek.

The Chimek is sold on an eat-in-basis only, so you may not want to show up at peak hours; even though the space here is considerably larger than the East Village original, there's still only seating for about 12, plus a few standing tables. Everything else is as you would expect from David Chang joint: good music (Led Zeppelin and Kurtis Blow popped on the mix while I was there), speedy service, and an all-around pro operation.

THE BITES
Fatbird is bad. The fried chicken, which I ordered Nashville Style Hot, was not at all spicy and, in fact, had very little flavor of any kind. It's technically a skillfully-cooked bird, with admirably moist meat (even the breast!) and a good bit of crackle to the skin, but I completely lost interest in eating less than half way through. Worse were the side dishes, which is really a disaster at a Southern-food spot. In fact, I had a hard time even finding two that weren't worrisome (could they really pull off Truffle Herb Parmesan Fries With Truffle Dip? I was in no mood to find out), and wound up with sickly sweet Cinnamon Spiked Pit Beans and bland, overly-battered Fried Green Tomatoes. The biscuit was good though!

The Fuku Chimek, on the other hand, is awesome, a textbook case on how to take something that's already delicious—in this case, buttermilk habanero fried chicken AND ALSO sweet and spicy fried chicken—and make it even more exciting. Because in addition to getting an entire bird placed at your table, you also get pickles, fries, fried pickles, picked daikon, kimchi, three sauces, and the Moroccan flatbread m'smen from the great, socially conscious Hot Bread Kitchen. It's a huge amount of food.

Chang himself, perhaps pitying me for tackling such a feast on my own (his exact words were "you couldn't find a single friend to share that with you?"), sat at my table for a minute and showed me the best way to eat this beast. Holding a piece of the flatbread like a pot holder, you rip off a hunk of the habanero-battered white meat, then fork on a bit of daikon, then a bit of kimchi, pour some ranch on top, pop the thing your mouth. This is one of the best single bites of food I've had this year.

THE VERDICT
Chef Cora might turn things around at Fatbird, but right now leave this place to the tourists. The Fuku Chimek, however, is a fried-chicken must, worth a visit with a friend or two (so as not to risk Chang's teasing!) even if you don't live or work near the Seaport.

Fatbird is located at 44 Ninth Avenue at the corner of 14th Street (212-633-2473; fatbird.com)

The Financial District Fuku is located at 110 Wall Street, between Front and South Streets, and is open Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. only (eatfuku.com)