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Zagat: Unlikely Pairing Puts Twist on Southern Comfort Food

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They say opposites attract, but does that hold up when pairing fried chicken—with champagne? One city chef is testing that out with her latest restaurant. Zagat editor Kelly Dobkin filed the following report for NY1.

Is fried chicken and champagne a match made in heaven?

We went to Birds and Bubbles on the Lower East Side to find out.

Sarah Simmons, the chef behind SoHo's rotating restaurant space City Grit is embracing her roots to open this Southern-inspired eatery whose concept focuses on fried chicken and champagne.

Dobkin:"So Sarah, how did you come up with this genius concept to pair fried chicken and champagne?
Simmons: "At City Grit, once a month, we host a Sunday Supper dinner where we serve fried chicken. And one evening, one of our guests brought us a bottle of champagne as a gift and it was at that moment I was like, this is perfect with this food. We should be drinking champagne everyday."

"We first start off with amazing birds from Amish farms in Pennsylvania. And then we dry-brine the chicken for 24-48 hours in secret spice blend, and then it’s all pan-fried," she says.

But fried chicken isn’t the only dish on the menu. You’ll also find an array of Southern specialties, from mac and cheese to rice grits.

"You know, I haven’t spent a lot of time in New Orleans but I feel like in my former life I may have been a Creole. That food just speaks to me. It's a perfect marriage of flavor and French technique," Simmons says.

The Lower East Side space features a small bar area and outdoor seating on their large backyard patio.

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