Peaches Hot House's Nashville-Style Hot Chicken
The specialty of Peaches Hot House -- the new Southern restaurant in Bed-Stuy -- is the Nashville-style hot chicken, a regional dish rarely seen outside of Tennessee.
Essentially, the style involves fried chicken with an extremely crunchy crust infused with a whole lot of cayenne -- among other spices -- and served with slices of white bread. The Southern Foodways Alliance made a short film about Nashville's legendary Prince's Hot Chicken Shack. It's the best crash course on this chicken and its addictive qualities:
Peaches Hot House gets quite a bit right: The chicken ($12) is covered in an insanely crunchy crust, so resilient you could almost knock on it, and is fried at such a high temperature that it's almost completely greaseless, so dry that the white bread it's served on looks practically pristine when the chicken's gone. Bite into it and there's an audible "crunch," as your teeth go through coating and skin. The chicken is as moist as a rare hamburger, running juice down your wrist.
But alas, it's not all that hot. If you weren't primed for Nashville-style hot chicken, you'd probably think that the chicken is nice and spicy. But having watched the YouTube videos of tears streaming down flushed faces at Prince's, it's a bit of a disappointment, at least for a devoted spicy food masochist.
Also, the crust tastes very much like cayenne-spiked barbecued potato chips, which is jarring, if tasty.
You can get the same preparation with fish ($12) or shrimp ($14). The shrimp are fried just as finely as the chicken, and are also not terribly hot.
Peaches Hot House
415 Tompkins Avenue, Brooklyn