jacques-imos.jpgBelatedly, Gothamist went to check out the new New York outpost of New Orleans's famous restaurant, Jacques-Imo's Cafe. The Columbus Avenue incarnation is dubbed simply Jacques-Imo's, but they say the fried chicken plate is the same, so we went to check it out. N'awlins chef Jacques Leonardi is world-famous for this signature dish -- even Amanda Hesser acknowledged it. Gothamist will eat just about anything that's been breaded and deep-fried, so we had to see what all the fuss was about.

jacqueschix.jpgAfter sampling the mammoth fried chicken plate, with a side of red beans and rice and an Abita chaser, we can't quite see what all the fuss is about. OK, Jacques' chicken plate beats KFC in a walk, but frankly, when we're out for heavy doses of fat and salt delivered via poultry, we'd just as soon head down to Times Square for that other New Orleans-based franchise: Popeye's Chicken.

That's not to say that Jacques-Imo's doesn't serve up some winners. The cornbread alone -- slathered in garlicky butter -- is a treat, and the fried oysters are addictive, with a lingering cajun kick. And there are other draws like Jacques' signature cocktail, the Tiger Paw, a SoCo and Cassis concoction that somehow doesn't taste overly sweet. But after hearing all the hype for the Big Easy's most famous deep-fried fowl, we were pretty disappointed. For the price of Jacques' chicken plate, we'll take a 12-piece from Popeye's (with those greasy, pillowy biscuits), and maybe we'll swing by Jacques-Imo's for drinks afterwards.

366 Columbus Avenue (at 77th Street)
(212) 799-0150

Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits
722 7th Avenue (at 48th Street)
(212) 245-9337

Seems I'm not the only one who feels this way. The Gastronome In Training went to Jacques-Imo's about two weeks ago and reported the same reaction. And it was picked up on Alaina's NYC Eats Take Away menu. Good for GIT, and sorry to step on her scoop.