Inside Look: New York’s Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken
The Bromberg brothers are the duo behind New York’s wildly successful string of Blue Ribbon-branded restaurants, which include the flagship Blue Ribbon, which opened 20 years ago and is still going strong, several outposts of Blue Ribbon Sushi (including one in Las Vegas), the new Blue Ribbon Beer Garden, and the food menu at the popular Brooklyn Bowl. One of their most popular and enduring menu items has been the fried chicken, and at their newest endeavor, aptly named Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, the noble fried bird assumes its rightful place at the center of attention.
“We first introduced fried chicken to our menu in 1992, and have used the same recipe since then,” Bruce Bromberg, who founded and runs the restaurants along with his brother Eric, told us. “We spent a long time messing around with the recipe, with all these different breadings, but we found that the simplest version was the best.”
And that version is certainly simple, but it’s been perfected over the past 20 years: The chicken gets a dip in egg white, then is coated with matzo meal and seasoned flour, then tossed into the deep fryer. The result is crispy, crunch, juicy, tender, and hits all the right notes.
As for why fried chicken is having such a moment, Bromberg believes that it all comes back to the element of fun. “It’s hard to argue with fried stuff!” he said. “All you have to do is put bacon on it or deep fry it, and people will love it if it’s done right. It’s fun, easy, you can eat it with your fingers, you can dip it, it’s crunchy, fatty, and delicious.”
As its name might imply, the restaurant, located in the East Village, is anything but fancy. “We created what we think is an awesome, casual environment,” he continued. “It’s just a place to come and eat fried chicken. It’s not a fine dining experience; it’s a place to hang out, drink some beers, and eat some fried chicken and burgers.”
Yes, burgers will also be on the menu (chicken burgers, at least), along with sides including fried beans and onion rings, salads, and offerings for more adventurous eaters that include fried gizzards and “beak to butt,” fried necks and backs. For the Brombergs, it’s clear that while doing one thing really well will suffice, it’s always better to do a lot of things really well.