Charles Gabriel, perhaps NYC's finest fried chicken practitioner, has expanded south from his base at 151st St. and Eighth Avenue (Charles Southern Kitchen:212-926-4313) to 109th and Broadway, where he is cooking his very fine bird at Rack & Soul (2818 Broadway, 212-222-4800). He was in good form last night, when our party of five descended on the simple but comfortable space restaurateur Michael Eberstadt has built to house Charles & company and a smoker fueled by wood and gas installed by competition barbecue man John Wheeler.
Sides: very good beans studded with tons of pork, standard macaroni and cheese that could have used a little tang and a little more cheese, solid cole slaw that wasn't overwhelmed by mayo or sugar, tender (not al dente) stringbeans that tasted like they were cooked with meat as well, lovely soulful potato salad, by the numbers candied yams, collard greens that I forgot to taste, and (get this) a waffle that was crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, much like the fried chicken. I like any place that offers a waffle as a side dish.
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