Bruce and Eric Bromberg know a thing or two about fried chicken. The matzo-crusted version at their restaurant Blue Ribbon Brasserie placed highly in our 2009 roundup, and they've since opened a casual venture in the East Village devoted exclusively to the bird. Up until recently, Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken focused on bone-in chicken and griddled chicken burgers; now they have a fried chicken sandwich.
The Blue Ribbon ($7) starts with a boneless chicken breast. The meat was just a little dry on ours, but the crust was wonderful—thick and craggy, with enough strength to stand up to the toppings. Sweet quick-pickled cucumbers contrasted nicely with optional hot peppers ($.50 extra), which packed a serious burn. Shredded lettuce and tomato served mostly to make the sandwich messier, while "Blue Ribbon Special Sauce," which tasted like a fairly standard Thousand-Island variant, added some welcome tang. The whole ensemble comes on a pleasant, if forgettable, bun—light and airy, it gets out of the way and lets the other ingredients shine.
$7.50 is a little steep for a fast food-style chicken sandwich served without sides, but there's something to like about this one. Maybe it was the slow burn of the peppers, or the crust on the chicken, but I kept coming back for more.