Another episode on one of Nashville's indigenous specialties, the venerable devilish demigod of eats, the Hot Chicken. My first experience of Hot Chicken was at Prince's earlier this year. The memory, a conflicting one of pain and pleasure but somehow I find myself back for another bout. The night only half past 8PM felt much later how quiet the strip Bolton's is located on was. With the cold light drizzle out I couldn't wait to step in.
While Prince's still had a feeling of a small restaurant, Bolton's was indeed a tiny cinder block shack, the interior no bigger than a cozy bedroom (with pink walls).
I debated to go Medium (as was the conclusion for future hot chicken after my experience at Prince's), but last minute switched to Hot, quarter-leg portion (dark meat). You order through the tiny sliding window with sound of muffled Blues music blaring out back. Things are based on a trust system here where you pay after you're done with your meal, tapping again on the same window you ordered through. I get to witness the single large cast iron skillet twice. :)
The chicken came out in a good ten minutes or so. These Hot Chicken have a mysterious unidentifiable sweet aroma to them, my guess from all the caramelized spices that survived the fry. Paprika or maybe the powdered cayenne does it but in any case it is a misdirected tease of what your taste buds are about to embark. The few pickle coins on top are a tradition.
This was good Southern Fried Chicken, if not overall on the greasier side. The two slices of spongy Wonder Bread were performing to its full potential. A nice crust, fried slowly both sides in the skillet to a darker medium brown (though the spices make it red). The heat I actually surprisingly managed. The Scoville level probably hovering at Medium if at Prince's. It was still pretty darn spicy, just not tingly involuntary facial tick inducing as my first. The meat is tender and moist but have to say the crusty spiced skin is the prize.
A place with a "Fried Chicken Shrine" painted on the side, you'd be sure that they take their fried birds seriously. Not that this is a Geno's Vs. Pat's comparison but I still have to give one up to Prince's for their flawless perfected execution, at least the one I experienced my first visit.
Bolton's is also known for their Hot Fish, an also Nashville specific cousin to the Hot Chicken. It's hard to see myself finishing a giant fried whiting, spicy or not without copious use of tartar sauce, but I think my next visit I may have to give it a try.
Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish, 624 Main St, Nashville, TN 37206