Family-Style Fried Chicken Dinner At Belly

Biscuits and honey at Belly, Cambridge, Mass.

Last Friday night we finally headed to Belly Wine Bar with a couple of friends. I had been wanting to check it out since it opened since I love The Blue Room, and when I found out about the family-style fried chicken dinner, I easily convinced Jeff and our friends to head over there with me.

My friend and I started with a bottle of rose, while her husband got a cocktail and Jeff got a glass of Gruner Veltliner. (There is an optional wine pairing for the fried chicken dinner but we passed on it.)

We ordered some salumi and cheeses to share. Even though the fried chicken is a preset menu and includes biscuits and slaw, I really wanted to try some other stuff while we were there. We went with the chef's selection of salumi and ended up with sopressata, finocchiona, porchetta, and speck. The meats came with thinly sliced crisp toasts, both plain and cranberry pecan. There was also a puddle of peach compote and a small dish of honey. I thought the combination of porchetta with peach compote on cranberry-pecan toast was phenomenal.

Salumi and cheeses at Belly, Cambridge, Mass.

Salumi at Belly, Cambridge, Mass.

For cheeses we ordered the butter, the salt, and the fresh. The butter was Mt. Alice and was mild and creamy with a Brie-like texture. The salt was caprotto and was reminiscent of Parmigiano-Reggiano. And the fresh was ricotta, fluffy and creamy. Everyone had a favorite. Mine was the butter.

Cheeses at Belly, Cambridge, Mass.

Note that ordering starters is completely unnecessary except for the pure enjoyment of food. Once the fried chicken arrived and we eyed the huge, heaping bowl of fried chicken parts, we were all questioning why we had ordered anything else. And we dug deep for our appetites. We reached for the chicken parts and started chowing down. I thought the chicken needed some salt but everything else about it was wonderful. It had moist meat and a crispy, crunchy coating -- just what you want from fried chicken. Our waitress told us that the chicken is brined, soaked in buttermilk, and then dredged and left to sit in its dredge for a while before frying. (You have to make reservations for the dinner at least 48 hours in advance so the chicken can undergo this process.)

Fried chicken at Belly, Cambridge, Mass.

The chicken was served with huge buttermilk biscuits, accompanied by a dish of honey. The two were great together. The honey really elevated the biscuits.

Biscuits and honey at Belly, Cambridge, Mass.

And there was also a small bowl of tangy, mustardy fennel slaw with cucumbers. This was a refreshing twist on traditional slaw.

Fennel slaw at Belly, Cambridge, Mass.

The family-style portion was incredibly generous for four people. We took tons of leftovers home with us. For $25 a person, I thought this was a great deal. And we really loved the atmosphere at Belly too. When you make reservations for the chicken dinner, you also get a patio table reserved for you, but we had a table inside because we happened to visit on a 90-plus-degree day. I appreciated that we were in the cool air conditioning. We had great service, delicious food, and a memorable evening.

Have you been to Belly yet?