Despite living in the Lower East Side my entire life, I’ve avoided trekking over the bridge into Williamsburg. The neighborhood just makes me uncomfortable, but I won’t write at length about my irrational intolerance of hipsters perpetually dressed for a costume party. What led me to reconsider my aversion to visiting this circus was the emergence of many restaurants worth visiting. I started by checking out Pies N Thighs, which serves up Southern comfort food at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. What appealed to me immediately was the smell of baked goods and fried chicken wafting from the open kitchen. As my friend and I glazed over the menu, we agreed that saving room for dessert was probably a good idea. After all, it’s in the name.
Almost predictably, I settled on the popular Fried Chicken Box ($13). The meal arrived in a platter with three pieces of fried chicken, a biscuit, and a side. It wasn’t until I took a bite of the chicken that I began questioning the price. The chicken was appropriately hot and crispy, but there was hardly a hint of spice at all. The blandness was accentuated by the mediocre quality of meat; the thighs were about as boring as they could possibly get. The tasteless meal was complemented with a dry biscuit, something that was unusually surprising given the high turnover (I watched two fresh batches of biscuits leave the kitchen). As a side, I went with the Mac & Cheese, a gloppy and thick disappointment. Their Mac & Cheese is topped with hot sauce, which was probably the most interesting part of the entire meal.
The thighs were a miss, but I had my fingers crossed for the pies. I requested the Key Lime Pie ($4.50), a quintessential element of Southern cuisine. The slice of pie was seated on a crumbly graham crust and was pleasantly smooth. The key lime pie had a sweet tartness that I enjoyed as well. There was an impressive richness to every bite, allowing me to savor it slowly. The slice was topped with a thick dollop of whipped cream that almost made me forget the small portion I received.
The pie was good, but it wasn’t exceptional enough to warrant going to Williamsburg even if you aren’t hipster-phobic. The service is a bad joke. The staff appears to be dazed and confused, with each person less helpful than the next. I’ve always associated Southern comfort food with unreasonably large portions. Pies N Thighs doesn’t even come close to hitting the right vibe. It’s almost embarrassing on my part that I brought a friend along expecting that hipsters could make decent fried chicken. I shamelessly would have spent my money at Popeye’s instead. If for whatever reason you fail to heed this warning and insist on going to Pies N Thighs, ask to be seated in the back room that is exposed to the outside air.