I cannot say for sure which of the Music City’s hot chicken outfits is my favorite for the simple reason that any time I eat at Bolton’s, Prince’s, or Pepperfire, I become so deliriously happy that all sense of measured judgment is long gone. But I guarantee that if you like hot chicken, you will like Hot Stuff.
The chicken is presented too hot to handle. At first squeeze of the crisp, vivid red crust, juices will start oozing out. The crust is crisp and thin, at once comforting and exhilarating. I ate my pieces down to the bone, then consumed all the white bread on which the chicken had sat, seeking every bit of flavor.
As for the other half of the name, fish here is served the Nashville way – as a nominal sandwich on white bread, the fillets crisp-fried and festooned with pickles and onions and bright yellow mustard. It is salty and big-flavored, hot enough to take your breath away. Co-owner Kiki Montgomery suggested house-made sweet tea to deal with the heat. But it does little to actually palliate on-fire taste buds. A thick piece of mocha layer cake, made by local baker Spencer D. Middlebrooks and available by the slice at Hot Stuff’s counter, was more effective (and really delicious) relief.