I often have been described as a picky eater, and yes, that is true for some types of cuisine, but when it comes to chicken, there isn’t a part that I won’t eat (maybe not the feet or beak, but that’s it). So, when I heard that The Crack Shack would be on the table for a review, I immediately claimed it.
After standing in line outside the rustic restaurant, we were approached by our kind server, who recommended the most popular dishes at the restaurant: the 5 Piece Fried Chicken ($15), Downward Dog salad ($9) and Firebird sandwich ($11). I was pleasantly surprised by her recommendation of a salad, since restaurants that specialize in meat usually fall behind when it comes to greens.
Even at noon, the restaurant was fairly packed, but almost immediately after finding a seat at a large wooden community table, the food arrived. Each item was neatly placed on a metal tray, maintaining the rustic mood of the restaurant.
In order of appetizer to the main course, we started with the 5 Piece Fried Chicken. The first thing I noticed was the crunch. The breading of the chicken was flaky, and the skin had the crispiness of a potato chip. I was somewhat disappointed with the chicken itself, especially since the coating was so tasty. The meat was bland, as though it had almost no seasoning of any kind. The lack of flavor was accompanied by a great gush of oil, which oozed out the moment I put the chicken back on the napkin. Although I was let down by the lack of flavor and the amount of oil, the phenomenal crisp on the outside of the chicken almost made up for it.
The Downward Dog salad came next, and if the food were to be judged solely on its looks, this plate would win. Unlike a conventional salad, the Downward Dog had a base of quinoa and hummus, topped with pine nuts, grilled broccoli, carrots of various colors, beets and a refreshing lemon yogurt vinaigrette. It was truly love at first bite; each ingredient perfectly complemented the others, creating a melody of flavor. The lemon of the vinaigrette added a great tangy flavor that helped cancel out the thickness of the hummus and quinoa that coated every vegetable. The addition of the pine nuts also allowed for a nutty flavor lacking in other salads.
The final dish, the Firebird sandwich, is the most popular item at The Crack Shack, and after trying the spicy chicken with fried onion and pickles on a potato roll, it made complete sense. The fried chicken was packed with an amazing flavor that can only be described as a cross of barbecue sauce with Sriracha; the two perfectly complemented each other. Once again, I was a little let down by the quality of the chicken, as it was very tough and some parts of the meat were more cooked than others, creating an uneven bite and strange distribution of flavor. The one ingredient that stole the show was the crispy onion. I have tried many versions of “crispy onion”, but none compared to the one in the Firebird. Fried to perfection, and the perfect addition to the sandwich, it was the first thing I tasted when I took a bite.
With a very short wait for food and great flavor, I would definitely return to The Crack Shack. But, since a salad was my favorite overall meal at a restaurant that has a giant chicken at the entrance, I would recommend trying something a little less conventional from the menu.