Rack and Soul: Great Fried Chicken & Ribs at affordable prices

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Rack and Soul is a great place to get your authentic soul food fix without traveling to Harlem. If that’s not reason enough, fried chicken luminary Charles Gabriel is a consulting partner at this diner-style restaurant. Mr. Gabriel’s serves his food buffet style at Charles’ Southern Style Kitchen on 151st Street, but those less adventurous can find crispy and moist fried chicken, sitcky, sweet, smoky and tender baby back ribs, sugary candied yams, and crisp shoestring french fries without straying too far from the 1 train. And yes, they also serve waffles.

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Read on to find out just how cheap all this delicious food is at lunchtime…

$15.95 at lunchtime ($19.95 at dinner), for your choice of 2 entrees and two sides. You can choose from….

  • Quarter Rack of Baby Back Ribs
  • Pulled Pork
  • 3 BBQ Chicken Wings
  • 2 Pieces of Fried Chicken of your choice

and for sides

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Collard Greens
  • String Beans
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Lima Beans
  • Baked Beans
  • Cole Slaw
  • Stewed Okra
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Candied Yams
  • White Rice
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • French Fries
  • Potato Salad
  • Belgian Waffle

For help deciding, I’ll point you in the right direction. I went with the Ribs, a thigh, a drumstick, candied yams, and fries…

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First, a closer look at the ribs and fried chicken and then the review…

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The Ribs were good but not amazing. King of Ketchup begged to differ, he thought they were better than Georgia’s Eastside BBQ. I wholeheartedly disagree.

Here’s the NYC Food Guy rib review:

  • The overall flavor was sweet and smoky but the flavor of the pork really shone through. If you like to taste the meat of the ribs, don’t add extra sauce, but if you want to unite the outer flavor with the pork, add some extra sauce.
  • They were tender and moist but didn’t fall right off the bone
  • The outer skin was a little tighter and crisper than I like

The Fried Chicken was good overall but while I admit my expectations were high, it was not a transcendent experience.

  • The outer coating was crispy and light without being overly greasy.
  • The coating, however, was nothing out of the ordinary. It didn’t seem to be a product of extra care or a unique process.
  • The meat inside was moist, tender, and flavorful

Here’s the rest of the meal…

Sweet candied Yams – very sweet, soft, and delicious

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Macaroni & Cheese – It really was this orange and it was pretty soggy and boring. Always an enticing option, it fell flat.

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Waffle with Syrup – my first Waffle and chicken experience was boring at best. The waffle and syrup were generic and ordinary.

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French Fries – Shoestring, crispy, and hot. I added some salt and pepper and found myself reaching onto King of Ketchup’s plate for more after I finished mine. Great fries.

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Honey Buscuits – These are complementary and served upon arrival. They were warm and tasty. We asked for butter and dipped it in the sweet barbecue sauce. Good move.

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Overall, I had a great meal at Rack and Soul. It was fresh, affordable, and big portioned. The service was attentive and I will definitely return to try the pulled pork.

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2818 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
at 109th St.
212-222-4800


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16 Responses to “Rack and Soul: Great Fried Chicken & Ribs at affordable prices”

  1. Howfresh Says:

    This is what I like to read about on Sat. am. Good shit. I was there about a year ago, not a memorable meal, but not bad either. I remember there was a draft by the window and that shit was annoying.

    For some good chicken and waffles hit up Amy Ruth’s on 116th and Lenox.

    Once I’m past 106th St. I’m venturing up to Dinosaur for BBQ.

  2. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Howfresh,

    Thanks for the feedback man. I feel the same way, it’s not amazing, jaw-dropping delicious but it’s definitely solid. I’m with you as far as Dinosaur being the best Upper West side BBQ though I’ve only been in Syracuse.

    I don’t categorize Rack and Soul with Dinosaur though, I think Rack and Soul is a soul food joint while Dinosaur is BBQ. If I’mf going to Rack and Soul, chicken’s the 1st order of business, good ribs are an added treat. Dinosaur is where I go for wings though and some serious ribs.

    I’m going to have to check out Amy Ruth’s. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Danny Says:

    That looks like an amazing meal, especially for just $16 dollars. Ahh.. i gotta get over this aversion to go north of 60th street. haha

  4. Miss Menu Says:

    So funny, Danny…I feel the same way. I always am looking to head downtown when picking out a new restaurant. Sounds like I need to look north too, esp for a little taste of home. Growing up in Atlanta, we use to frequent Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles. Wonder how it compares to Rack & Soul!! Glad you liked it NYC Food Guy!

  5. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Danny & Miss Menu-

    I can’t say I’d be up here myself if I didn’t live on the Upper West Side but there are a lot of places I haven’t checked out yet above 109th street. I’m going to make an effort to get up there so definitely keep an eye out. Rack and Soul is just the first stop on my NYC Soul Food Tour.

    Thanks to both of you for the comments.

  6. DDR Says:

    The name of the uptown spot is Charle’s, not Charles’, and not Charles’s (which would be correct). The name is even spelled Charle’s on their business cards.
    Both Charle’s and Charles’ are gramatically incorrect, but the first one, which is the actual name, is absurdly incorrect.
    Adult illiteracy: it’s the scourge of our era.

  7. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    DDR-

    That’s hilarious. I had no idea. I went with NYMAG.com’s listing, pretty much considering it gospel. The real questions are, business card aside, what does it say on the sign, and is it worth making the trip up to?

  8. DDR Says:

    The sign also says Charle’s, if I recall correctly.
    Is it worth the trip? That’s the $12 question.
    You get all you can eat fried chicken, ribs, mac n’ cheese and some other stuff that I didn’t eat. The chicken was very good, the ribs and mac n’ cheese were good.
    The place has about 5 tables and is the size of a very small studio apartment, if that. If there are other patrons you will be right on top of them. It’s just weird being there.
    I went in a group of five, including 3 big eaters, and I doubt any of us will ever go back even though it was pretty good, cheap, and a buffet.
    In my view, it’s just not a good place to relax and enjoy your meal.
    The food was good, and worth trying, but not good enough to justify coming back.

  9. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    DDR-

    All you can eat is interesting and now that I’ve geared myself up for people sitting on my lap while I eat I might be ready. I think I’ll just have to give it a shot to try the chicken. Does the chicken make it worth the trip? Thats Charle’s or Charles’ or however he spells its’ specialty right?

  10. DDR Says:

    Is it worth the trip? The cab ride up from the UWS was less than $15. And the bus ride back took about 25 minutes. Seems like you travel a lot farther than that for other meals so I don’t know.
    All I know is, the first time I had pastrami at Katz’s, I knew it was the best there is, and I’ve made the long trek many times since.
    Not so with Grimaldi’s.
    As for Chazz and his chicken: it’s very good. That’s it. I think it’s the same as the chicken at Rack & Soul, isn’t it?

  11. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    DDR-

    Yessir, you spoke right, I’m ready to go far for food. I’m up near 86th street so the subway ride is doable. It’s tough for anything when you have expectations in tow. I know that Charles is a “consultant’ for Rack and Soul, how that plays into his direct influence over the chicken on a daily basis, I don’t know. I imagine it’s more like the Gap where one day he came in and showed 6 people how to make fried chicken his way and now we get the spinoff. Is he even cooking it up at Southern Kitchen? In the end, I might have to go just to do a soul food run and see what’s what. Other spots I’m considering are Amy Ruth’s and Sylvia’s. Though I hear the latter is a little pricey. Have you been to either one of those?

  12. DDR Says:

    I haven’t been to either because after my visit to Chuck’s I lost interest in soul food for a while.
    Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t bad. But after seeing it perrenially earn 27s in Zagat’s, my expectations were way too high. I think it’s down to a more tolerable 23, now by the way.

  13. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    DDR-

    Zagat’s isnt as reliable as it lets on. I’m reminded of the Chris Farley/Adam Sandler Old Couple Reading Zagat’s skit on SNL….

    “How about “Mario’s Restaurant? Mini-Pizzas and delish desserts make this Italian eatery a must! Ravioli? Holy Cannoli!”

    I don’t really know what my purpose was there but that was fun.

  14. DDR Says:

    Zagat’s is nothing more than a cash cow for Tim and Nina. It is one of the most brilliant business models I’ve ever come across.

  15. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    What’s the business model? Do restaurants pay to be in the book?

  16. DDR Says:

    Restaurant patrons from all over the country and the city rate and write reviews of the restaurants, and mail them to Zagat’s (free labor). All Zagat’s does is tally and average the numerical ratings into a single number (computer data entry), and choose the best quotes and zingers that free labor has provided (a handful of low wage “editors”). Stir, publish, and sell at a huge mark-up. Voila!

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