Sticky’s Finger Joint at 31 West 8th Street, New York, NY
Anyone who’s lived in New York longer than a month will balk at the idea of having a compelling culinary experience where MacDougal St. Meets West 8th.. “Isn’t that where the army navy surplus for bisexual and questioning youths is located?” or “Isn’t that the tribal piercing shop that sells bootlegged Pokemon cards and steampunk goggles?” But with the opening of Sticky’s Finger Joint and the imminent arrival of a Stumptown Coffee Roasters across the way the Douchey-Hats-for-Dudes-District is taking a turn for the better.
The location makes perfect sense for a restaurant set to do for chicken fingers what Little Munster did for grilled cheese and what Crif Dogs did for hot dogs. That is; take a staple of low brow American Cuisine and smack it with a dash of re-imagination. The neighborhood, overrun as it is by fresh transplants to the city via NYU, are as homesick for the food of the fly-over states as they are eager to prove their freshly minted metropolitan-ness.
It is in this Venn Diagram of dubious and delicious that we found ourselves as the very first customers at this hotly anticipated addition to our fine city. While many a chef would be happy to nail the finger formula and simply supply sauces for variation Sticky’s delivers four unique preparations. Ranging from the health conscious grilled option to the exquisitely crisp and crunchy “Wasabi Finger”, their take on chicken katsu. In between there’s the “Bada Bing”; think a more portable chicken parm. Though we can easily imagine Tony Soprano grabbing a fistful and going to town, we recommend you use the supplied, but mostly unnecessary utensils. Last but not least is “The Finger” the classic chicken finger given a new lease on life for 2012. Do not let the flashier options distract you from this perfect little digit of poultry. The breading keeps the all white meet perfectly moist and stays put no matter how much dipping you do. But wait there’s more; those are just the preparations. Sticky’s dives into the deep end of flavor by offering what seems like endless dipping sauce options from the daring and delicious Chocolate Chip BBQ to the tried and true Homemade Ketchup, the possibilities are endless. Even if there weren’t “over 30” chicken finger varieties waiting in the wings to be rotated onto the menu this joint would require multiple visits.
Sticky’s an absolute home run, which would be a better metaphor if they sold chicken fingers instead of hot dogs at baseball games but they don’t so it isn’t. The only problem we can imagine is the location and menu are so perfectly suited to drunken dining we worry that the shear number of options may short circuit the inebriated dinner’s brain. We recommend your first visit, at least, be a sober one. So if you can stomach the location you’re mouth will be rewarded and make sure to look up while chowing down because your eyes will alight upon the now-nearing-completion tower of free market finance or whatever, you will have an amazing view of it.