The best way to enjoy Cornell chicken, a Central NY passion, is to find a public outdoor barbecue at an event in the area, usually hosted by a local fire department or civic group. The chicken at many of these events is prepared over hot coals by Phil's Chicken House of West Corners, just north of Endicott (see the Roadfood.com review). Otherwise, your best bet is to head straight for Phil's restaurant, where the slow roasted chicken is prepared with the same basting sauce, resulting in a bird with luscious bronzed skin and juicy flesh. We were once again reminded on this visit of just how good Cornell chicken can be, even rivalling Stroud's (see the Roadfood.com review), in our book, for American chicken supremacy.
A half-chicken dinner will run you $9, and the AYCE buffet, which features the same chicken, will cost you $8 at lunch. So why do we always go for the a la carte option? Simple: 1) A la carte still gets you the basic salad bar with country-perfect potato and macaroni salads, and outstanding homemade chicken noodle soup. 2) The non-chicken stuff on the buffet is ordinary. 3) The picked-over buffet chicken is cut up and tends to be missing a lot of its skin (the best part!). Our advice: spend the extra buck. Dessert tonight featured a blueberry and strawberry cake that a woman who was leaving told us, as we were entering, that we must get.