Editor's note: Consider the chicken pot pie your gateway to Thanksgiving. There's poultry, there's pie, there's all-American comfort food—in a manageable one-pot portion. (And best of all, someone else is doing the cooking!) We sent Nikki Goldstein out on a mad pie hunt to track down New York's best.
There are few things as comforting as chicken pot pie on a cold day. Between the veggies and chicken, the hearty stock, and the biscuit crust, though, it's a lot of components to get right. With a list of spots to check out and a couple of discerning friends, I set off to find the best pot pie in Manhattan. Below, the favorites, not-so-favorites, and our crowned champion.
There are a good number of mean pot pies in the city, but aside from our winner, three really stood out. Though it's hardly surprising, Tea and Sympathy, the West Village ode to England, came in as our runner-up (pictured above). The crust was crunchy and golden, and the filling featured veggies like leeks and yellow squash that were welcome additions to the mix. We wanted a little more chicken, but the overall texture was creamy and balanced—in a word, perfect.
Tea and Sympathy: 108 Greenwich Avenue (map), 212-989-9735, teaandsympathynewyork.com
The good, the not-so-good, and our favorite chicken pot pie in New York.
We also loved the Cleaver Co.'s version. Nestled inside the Chelsea Market, it's a small space with very few tables, so we opted for takeout and perched at a table just outside. What we discovered was a flaky and buttery crust, freshly made, enough to cover each bite of pie. The texture inside was slightly soupier than Tea and Sympathy's, but with tons of chicken and veggies, it was a hearty helping packed with comfort.
Rounding out the favorites was Friend of a Farmer, whose pie was the most artful of the bunch with its perfectly latticed crust. Traditional in fillings and texture, it was a simple and straightforward rendition executed very well. It's just what you think of when you imagine a great pot pie.
The label is admittedly a bit harsh for Bobby Flay's Bar Americain. His sweet potato crust pie was definitely tasty, but it simply didn't hold a candle to the others that we liked so much. Although the concept was great, the crust was too thin to make an impact, and the spicy filling was more like soup than pie. The flavor was spot on, however—the chicken is smoked in hickory, apple, and cherry chips while the broth benefits from turnips, cremini mushrooms, and chipotle. That's some kick.
Molly's Pub had been praised by some, but I found its pot pie to be rather unremarkable. The vegetables came in enormous chunks, as did the chicken—so much so that we all asked for knives. The rough service didn't help much, either.
Molly's Pub: 287 Third Avenue (map); 212-889-3361
Yelpers had raved about Pig & Whistle, but I felt like I'd been tricked into some kind of practical joke here. This couldn't have been more disappointing, with undercooked veggies and a freezer-aisle crust. Then I realized there's another Pig & Whistle in the city; I can only hope these Yelpers simply chose the wrong one.
The Overall Winner
It was a close call between the four favorites, but Penelope was the unanimous winner. The chicken in the pie was cut into a thin julienne, making it easier to eat, and the crust was obviously homemade: buttery, flaky, chewy, and smoky. The insides were hearty and creamy but still light, with a homemade chicken stock base that was utterly delicious. "Pure comfort," I scribbled down; not much more needs to be said.
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