One of my favorite food trips from the past year was a visit to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville, Tenn., a recent recipient of the James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award.
If you go
What: Ike’s Hot Chicken, Fish and MoreWhere: 616 Meeting St.Hours: 7 a.m.-until Monday-SaturdayFor more info: 805-5812
Any guess as to what the 60-plus-year-old institution serves?
That’s right, fried chicken, in spice degrees ranging from mild to extra hot, the last of which features a fiery, molten-level intensity. Generally, the wait time is an hour or so after ordering, the backdrop a modern-day shack set inside an older strip mall on the north side of the city.
So just imagine my expectations during a visit to Ike’s Hot Chicken, Fish and More. Which, honestly, is beyond unfair to Ike’s.
Prince’s required decades to reach its stature; the recently opened Ike’s needs more than just a few months.
The restaurant makes its home near the Hello My Name is BBQ restaurant on Meeting Street.
You can’t miss Ike’s. Formerly Craves Soul Food, the shop is painted in bright green and yellow.
The offerings vary from, well, chicken to fish and more. The fish means fried shrimp, scallops and deviled crab, as the “more” involves breakfast platters, wings and burgers, as well as ham and cheese, grilled cheese, and fish and pork chop sandwiches.
As to the chicken, it’s good. The pieces are small, but the meat retains its juiciness, and the skin is crisp. It’s just not a game-changer, and it’s not hot in the same way as Prince’s. The “hot” at Ike’s just refers to the freshness, as it’s fried when you order it.
To its credit, Ike’s probably has the best prices on the peninsula. A two-piece thigh and leg combo costs $2.99, while the four-piece — also thighs and drumsticks — runs $4.99. It’s a compelling point for purchase.
Here’s hoping for a few tailgate specials come fall.