I recently visited Brine, which is a new casual chicken eatery in Chelsea at 106 Eighth Avenue…and was really “wowed”! I had only heard of brining turkey before but these guys brine chicken for a solid 24 hours, let it rest to a certain temperature and then fire grill it! It comes out so juicy that you might not even believe your eyes or taste buds!
They have many variations on their basic flame grilled chicken to make the menu exciting for customers but I loved getting their Signature (original flame grilled) half chicken, cutting into it and seeing the juice flow. You get the Signature Half Chicken with two sides for only $18.29 and it provides enough food for two people or more! They do not do anything small here!
The aforementioned sides include French Fries, Blackened Chili Spiced Fries, White Balsamic Farro, Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese, Charred Broccoli and much more. You can see the Charred Broccol above in my signature chicken photo and it consists of florets drizzled with black pepper aioli, Parmesan and fresh basil. Needless to say that even though Brine is considered a “fast casual” establishment, the food is inventive and upscale!
You can get chicken salads and bowls if you want to keep your diet healthy or you can go in the total opposite direction with your order. There is a short term special called A Little Nonna at the moment and it’s kind of your grandma’s chicken parm turned inside out. The stretchy mozzarella is placed inside the breading with a sweet homemade tomato sauce on top. It’s official description is as follows: “brined chicken tender, fried with panko and Brine’s own italian seasoning blend is married with Nonna’s marinara sauce, garlic aioli, hand breaded mozzarella, parmesan and fresh basil leaves served up on a Martin’s potato roll.” Let me just say that this is as good or not better than it sounds! I got mine with the aforementioned Blackened Chili Fries and was blown away into chicken and potato heaven at the same time!
The Buttermilk Tenders are the most popular main dish after the Signature Half Chicken and for good reason—they have both juiciness and crunch working for them! The tenders are brined, marinated in seasoned buttermilk then coated in a special seasoned flour and fried. They are served with a delicious slice of grilled brioche toast which has a slightly garlicky taste.
There are five house made sauces and you can ask for all or just one for no additional cost. They are (left to right): Charred Jalapeño And Cilantro, Blackened Chili Garlic, Buttermilk Green, Buttermilk Red and Honey Mustard. I love Charred Jalapeño And Cilantro the most out of all of them because of the strong cilantro taste, with my second choice being the mighty spice Blackened Chili Garlic (which is more like a paste). People who prefer their sauces mellow and sweet should opt for the dreamy and creamy Honey Mustard sauce.
My exotic favorite on the menu is the MSG (which might be good for nearby Madison Square Garden to adopt as their official sandwich, LOL)! This Thai inspired buttermilk fried chicken “sammy” is sweet chili dipped and has a generous slathering of scallion and sweet soy mayo, sesame seeds and scallions. There’s just a little kick and with one side this large sandwich is only $13.89. You can get it made even hotter! Yes, there is an alternative version of this called the “New York Hot” that adds in blackened chili and pickled red onion for a super power force of some of the boldest flavors out there!
The actual store is cozy, brightly lit, super clean and cute. Your order will come out fast (in five or ten minutes) and everyone behind the counter is a wealth of information on the menu items. You can order catering trays for parties and large meetings as well as regular takeout. The Fire Grilled Spread is only $16 per person and includes large portions of one type of chicken dish, a salad or rice, two sides and three sauces. I might throw a party just so I can try the Brine catering!
Before you ask, there is only one dessert at Brine and it is called Brioche Buddies. These taste like Mexican churros but they are cubes of brioche fried in ghee then topped with cinnamon and sugar. There is quite a lovely crunch followed by a soft, warm inside that is slightly chewy in a good way. For more information on Brine, go to brinechicken.com. Whether you prefer your chicken spicy or mild, fire grilled or fried, there are endless options that you will love. I guarantee that! They mention their commitment to really good food on their flyers and you can tell that they live up to that comment 24/7 once you set foot inside the large glass Brine doors!