In addition to leaving this post here, I am adding this write-up to the fried chicken round-up so all your resources for deep fried poultry are in one place. I look out for you.
Let us speak now of Sticky’s Finger Joint.
It is not in Times Square circa 1985 (though seriously, I hope there was someplace there named Sticky’s Finger Joint). It is a chicken finger shop located a block from NYU’s main campus. This is another one I heard about from the Infatuation boys, and this time they did not lead me wrong. I stopped in on impulse yesterday after class, during a random walk down 8th St. to contemplate gentrification. (Conclusion: man, is it ever a thing. I haven’t been down 8th in years because I’ve always sort of hated it, and I barely recognize it anymore. Also, why are there four places in a row at which to buy boots?)
Sticky’s sells two kinds of chicken fingers, “crunchy” (fried) and “naked” (grilled), and really, what is the point of a grilled chicken finger? What is the goal there, exactly? Obviously I did not even consider that portion of the menu, selecting instead to get an order of “The Finger,” their basic fried chicken finger. (One order gets you three pieces.) I could have gotten the Bada-Bing, which contains a mozzarella stick and is covered in marinara. I could have gotten the Salted Caramel, which is covered with caramel sauce and salt and topped with pretzel sticks. But I feel like if you’re a chicken finger shop, you gotta get the basics right. No amount of caramel sauce can cover a bad finger. I also got two dipping sauces, dijon honey mustard and garlic aioli. (Avoid the garlic aioli if you’re getting the Salted Caramel. That can only end in tears.)
So let’s talk about The Finger. I was pleased with the portion size of my fingers, robust but not mutant-big. The coating is crispy and flaky, very light and not at all greasy. The fingers themselves are firm and about as juicy as breast tenderloins can get (which is to say … not very). The whole enterprise is topped with a bunch of spices that seriously, I have no idea, but there’s something a little sweet and unconventional. It didn’t piss me off though, unlike that ridiculous affair at Red Rooster. Possibly because, since the spices were sprinkled on rather than cooked in, they were less aggressive? Possibly because I was at a fucking chicken finger joint rather than a shmancy restaurant, and my expectations were lower and my mind was more open? Either way, they didn’t get on my nerves. These fingers, I am pleased to report, can be eaten plain. As for the dipping sauces, the dijon honey mustard was super nice with a tiny kick – I’d totally spread it on my sandwich – but the garlic aioli was weird. It was really thick, almost closer to a paste than a sauce. Dipping was unsuccessful – you gotta scoop. But the garlic flavor was strong. I would also spread this on my sandwich, though I do not think I would dip my chicken fingers in it a second time.
Verdict: this is not by any means a destination spot. It’s not fried chicken like you’d get at Bobwhite Counter – it’s snack food. But it’s tasty and reasonably priced and I sort of really want to try a chicken finger with a mozzarella stick inside. Also, just FYI, everything at Sticky’s is made to order, which I didn’t expect. So if you’re looking for fast-fast food, this is not your spot. I probably waited about eight minutes for my fingers.
$7 for 3