I don’t often review takeout joints, but after a few visits to Figgy’s, which opened last year on the corner of Walker and Congress, I felt it was time to share my thoughts about the slightly hidden location serving antibiotic and cage free fried chicken with all the fixins. The eatery’s first point of interest is their walk-up window, herein referred to as the “chicken window”. The right side is for ordering , the left for pickup, and behind it are the friendly chicken providers who take your order with a smile. Figgy’s offers takeout and catering, but does offer some outdoor picnic table seating if your desire is to eat there. I like to take my order home and relax with my meal, but on a nice summer day, it wouldn’t be crazy to enjoy your chicken on location.
On my last visit, as I always do, I reviewed the menu hanging next to the chicken window. With main events of skillet fried chicken and wings, it also included biscuit sandwiches, soup, salad, sides, and dessert. There were specials to add to the list of choices. I had the full hunger, so I was ready to spare no expense. After mixing it up with my wife, we agreed on what to order. We started with a Half Bird – drumstick, thigh, and breast – and a half dozen Garlic and Soy Wings – lightly battered and double fried Korean style. Then we went a little insane with the sides, ordering a pint of the Really Creamy Mac N’ Cheesey and a cup each of Buttermilk Mashed Maine Potatoes, German Potato Salad, and Sesame Cole Slaw.
The crew at Figgy’s wasted no time in creating our order and within several minutes, our big bag of food was handed to us and we were on our way to consuming fistfuls of chicken. I quickly headed home and plated the bird and sides and got ready to eat what was before me. I started with the fried breast which I split with Mrs. Portlandeater. The menu touts that their chicken is simply seasoned, floured, and fried. A bite revealed the beautiful outer coating developed by that preparation. The crisp shell produced an excellent textured taste with a blend of what was certainly fewer than 11 herbs and spices and probably just a very necessary salt and pepper blend. The combination of crisped skin and coating only opened the door to the tender, juicy meat that followed, producing a hearty, crunchy, moist mouth mixture. This was really good fried chicken. Really, really good.
As I gnawed on my defeathered friend, I caught the biscuit that came with it out of the corner of my eye. I had shared that with my wife too. I grabbed the split biscuit and chewed off a portion. It was a pretty standard example of the crumbly bread and was small, so I finished it in a couple bites and moved on to some wings. I shoved a garlic and soy flapper into the horizontal cavity between my lips. Whoa woah whoa, stop the clock! As if the seriously sauced, sweet and salty, garlic-glazed bird bit wasn’t good enough, the double frying produced a bubbly, blistered skin that caused a snap with each bite. You know the soggy wings you get at some pizza places where the skin and the meat have essentially the same hardness? Well these definitely weren’t that. They were spectacular. No details were forgotten either as the wings were finished with sesame seeds and green onions. I alternated between wings and the delicious house pickles that came with them before getting to my other food.
Adding a thigh to my plate, I started digging into the sides I had meticulously portioned onto it. I started with the Really Creamy Mac N’ Cheesey, placing as many spiral pasta pieces as possible on my fork and deftly transporting them to my mouth for safe keeping. Holy macaroni! The name of the dish was appropriate as I laid upon my taste buds the cheesiest, creamiest, mac and cheese I could imagine – one of the very best I ever had and choc full of gooey goodness. I gave a salacious stare to the rest of my mac and took a break to cool off and move on through to the other sides.
Only a small amount of the buttermilk mashed graced my plate as they were primarily ordered for my wife, but the rich, smooth taters gave another look to the classic spud preparation. I then skipped over to the potato salad which had been daring me to try it for some time. The salad was tossed with whole grain mustard, bacon, and vinegar as its auxiliary ingredients. The flavor combination was top notch with potent mustard power and every bite ending with an acidic slap to the back of the throat as the vinegar made itself known. It was another winning dish.
A bite of the sesame slaw provided a fresh change of pace to the meal with the long-time fried chicken side giving me yet another reason to say “yum”. The black and white sesame seed speckled veggies had a vinaigrette coating and pleased the palate with their light and barely there, nutty flavor. As I rotated between sides and chicken, I smiled with every opening and closing of my jaw. I took double-sized bites of macaroni and immediately had a craving for potato salad, so I ate that and had a craving for slaw. I rotated between eating all three, wanting one as I was eating the other, unable to focus on any single side.
Once my plate was emptied a couple times, we were almost out of everything, but I realized there was still a drumstick left. Chicken for dessert it was! I nibbled on the easily eaten piece of chicken and finished every last morsel, eliminating previous thoughts I had about having some left over for the next day. I called it a wrap and cleaned myself, as the chicken, especially the saucy wings, were a 5 out of 5 on the messiness scale. Only moments later, I sat with fried chicken belly and reminisced about my meal, placing it into the absolutely outstanding column. For about 37 bucks, we were very full and more than happy with the glorious food that was as comforting as it was invigorating.
Bringing back memories of mom’s fried chicken when I was a kid, Figgy’s has turned up the volume and doubled down on the sides. Everybody wants fried chicken, but they’re still screaming at us to eat more of it by making it irresistibly grand and throwing in secondary dishes that will bring a tear to your beady, little eyes. As president of the Nommy Food League, I’m fining Figgy’s for unreasonable deliciousness. Go there right away so you can experience what I did. The fun starts with the happy little chill you’ll get when you order, but the party truly begins when the hand reaches through the chicken window and offers you the bag of goods.
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