05/25/16 10:37am

A Tale of Two Fast-Food Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Wendy's new chicken sandwich looks way better than it tastes.

Wendy’s new chicken sandwich looks way better than it tastes.

I’m a sucker for ad campaigns touting the latest fast-food gimmick be it McGriddles or Dorito’s Loco Tacos. Upon seeing the commercial—usually while climbing a virtual mountain at the gym—I can’t wait to try the latest and greatest mass market meal. And that’s how I came to eat two fast-food fried chicken sandwiches yesterday. The first was Wendy’s Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Ever since seeing the commercial I’ve wanted to try it, so much so that I had it for breakfast.

Unfortunately the soggy lukewarm chicken breast, topped with diced jalapeños, and an evil yellow slurry that called to mind the cheez on movie theater nachos was disappointing as were the ghost pepper fries. Sure everything was spicy, but the execution was just terrible. I don’t blame Wendy’s though, I blame my unrealistic expectations of fast food. If anything I thank Wendy’s for the experience. It spurred me to try the second sandwich, the original chicken sandwich from Delaney Fried Chicken. 

Delaney Chicken owesa debt to New Orleans.

Delaney Chicken owes a culinary debt to New Orleans.

Unlike Wendy’s, Daniel Delaney, the man behind Delaney Fried Chicken, doesn’t run commercials. What compelled me to brave the crowds at Urbanspace Vanderbilt wasn’t a TV spot, it was a need to set my culinary universe aright by having a fast-food fried chicken sandwich that was actually good.

Delaney’s spicier chicken sandwich ($10) with Havarti, pickled jalapeno, and spicy mayo more closely resembles the Wendy’ sandwich, but I opted for the classic ($8) with house pickles, Duke’s mayo, and hot sauce.

I hesitate to call Delaney Chicken fast food, but my order did come out quickly, faster than Wendy’s in fact. There all similarity between the two operations ends. For one thing, Delaney brines his birds making them super juicy. And his frying technique, a dip in seasoned flour followed by a buttermilk bath is a pure Southern classic resulting in a crunchy crust that could compete against Willie Mae’s Scotch House any day. I’ll bet my lucky chopsticks Delaney’s a fan of the New Orleans fried chicken temple.

The combination of the piping hot crunchy juicy, chicken, mayo, hot sauce, and pickles on a floppy hamburger bun not only set everything aright in my culinary universe it gave me hope for the future of fast food. As for my twice a year fast food habit, I’m still hopeless. I heard Taco Bell just came out with a new Chalupupusa . . .

Delaney Chicken, Urbanspace Vanderbilt, 230 Park Ave.

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2 Comment

  • I’m not surprised about Wendy’s – I’ve always found their fried chicken sandwiches to be poorly executed. Have you tried Shake Shack’s? I haven’t, but have heard good things from people I trust. Finally, their politics may suck but Chick-Fil-A really makes an exceptional fried chicken sandwich.

    • yeah its a shame about Ben & Jerrys politics too, those bearded hypocrites,,, and Chipotle leans left so they suck too

      Hmmmm ,,,, maybe you should just enjoy it for what it is