The Nugget Spot quietly opened in October of this year on 14th Street, serving nothin’ but nuggets, condiments, and a few sides.
Now, how did it take this long for someone to open an all-nugget-everything spot in NYC? Seriously, New Yorkers go crazy for single item restaurants, and the humble nugget is a food that deserves to be treated with a lot more respect.
The man behind the nugget mecca, Jason Hairston, uses hormone-free chicken breast for his nuggs, and breads them in everything from Cheeze-Its to pretzels (but our favorite has to be the simple Southern-fried coating). Other meat options include pork, fish, and turkey—but, really, why stray from chicken?
Once you choose from the nugget menu, you have to choose from an endless array of sauces. And then there’s the sides, which include Nacho Mac and Cheese—yes, it is as ridiculously awesome as it sounds.
Right when we caught wind of the opening of this nugget mecca, we had to go try all the nuggets on offer. We also tried every condiments that was on the menu that day, along with a couple sides.
Overall, the nuggets are addictive, and sort of remind us of mini chicken tenders. They don’t have the spongy quality of fast food nuggets, which, in our opinion is a good thing. The Nugget Spot nuggs are, essentially, improved chicken tenders, due to their greater coating to chicken ratio.
Below, we break down each nugget coating and condiment.
Southern Fried Chicken Nuggs
The Southern Fried nugget was the best of all the regular nugget coatings. The exterior is super crunchy, heavily seasoned with cayenne and pepper, and the skin is nicely separated from the tender chicken breast meat. The meat is juicy and not overwhelmed by the coating. This is like a traditional Southern fried chicken, only miniature and in nugget form. Jason says the coating recipe “is a secret, like the Colonel’s recipe.”
Chicken Nuggs with Pretzel Coating
If you’re a huge fan of the salty, bready flavor of pretzels, then this coating is for you. Personally, we’re going to stick with the Southern Fried.
Chicken Nuggs with Cheez-It Coating
These nuggs are salty, with a distinctive Cheeze-It taste. The coating is super flavorful, and makes for a particularly addictive nugget. This nugg pairs perfectly with the spicy, Thousand Island-like “Shh Sauce” as well as the honey mustard.
Tso Tswag Chicken Nuggs
Jason says this Saturday special nugget was “his take on General Tso’s chicken.” This was right up there with the Southern fried, but on the opposite end of the nugget spectrum. The thin, crispy crust was coated with a sweet and spicy honey glaze, then topped with sesame seeds and sliced scallions. The nuggets were unapologetically greasy, and embodied everything I love about Chinese fast food. Put it this way: When I come back to the Nugget Spot, I’ll be coming back on a Saturday.
These mozzarella nuggs were like high-quality mozzarella sticks in cube form. There’s nothing to hate about molten mozzarella encased in breadcrumbs dipped in marinara sauce. The mozzarella was quality, so the interior was a bit chewy with some resistance. But the nugg was still gooey and stringy like any good fried mozzarella snack should be. The marinara sauce, made in house, was particularly awesome.
Smokin’ J’s BBQ Sauce: Super smokey, a little sweet, definitely tomato-based. Like the fast food BBQ sauce that comes in a package, only a lot smokier.
Wasabi Mayo: A favorite amongst the condiments. The pungent wasabi flavor really came through in this homemade mayonnaise.
Banana Ketchup: Bright, tropical, fruity, and not very ketchup-like at all. This reminded us of Indian ketchup made with pumpkin.
Mambo Sauce: Tastes like any good sweet and sour sauce (a must-have accompaniment to nuggets.)
Roasted Red Pepper Ranch: This was reminiscent of the too-sweet red pepper hummus you get at the bodega. Not a fan.
Shh Sauce: Somewhere between Thousand Island dressing and tartare sauce. We detected pickle juice, lemon, and chili peppers.
Honey Mustard: A perfect honey mustard sauce, with more mustard than honey and a great spicy kick.
This mac and cheese is out of control. The corkscrew pasta was a bit al dente—especially for mac and cheese—and coated with a Velveeta-like, ridiculously rich cheese sauce which coats the roof of your mouth. Jason gilds the mac and cheese lily by topping the mac with pulverized Cheeze-Its and putting an extra stash of cheese sauce at the bottom of the container. This is, simply put, the best stoner snack in NYC.
Will we be coming back to The Nugget Spot? Most definitely, and our order will go a little something like this: Southern Fried nuggs, Tso Tswag nuggs, wasabi mayo, honey mustard, shhh sauce, and five orders of nacho mac and cheese.