Even though we’re not a fried-chicken town like, say, Atlanta or Nashville, the dish has always been popular in New York. And why not? There’s fat, salt, and irresistible texture in every bite. But who could have predicted the current craze? It ignited this summer, when Momofuku Noodle Bar and Locanda Verde launched reservation-only fried-chicken orgies, each dinner selling out in minutes. Chalk it up to burger fatigue, the quest for value, and the growing tendency for upscale chefs to put their refined spin on regional American fare. Even Thomas Keller has gained a following for his $49 fried-chicken dinners at Ad Hoc in Yountville, California. In our search for New York’s best, we focused on the southern-fried paradigm, or riffs thereon, in pursuit of crispness, flavor, and finesse. Following, our favorites.