In New York, fried chicken is having a moment. The fast-food favorite has flown the coop, so to speak, and landed on fine-dining menus across the city. The latest restaurant to devote itself to the bird is Hill Country Chicken, where chef Elizabeth Karmel's perfectly fried poultry takes center stage. Her recipe isn't complicated. She bathes the chicken in a buttermilk marinade, then gives the bird successive dips in seasoned flour and hot oil; precisely heated oil is the secret ingredient for chicken that's burnished, crisp and greaseless. No deep-fry thermometer? Karmel says the oil is ready when a cube of bread begins to brown the moment it's dropped in the pan.