What day is this? Is today a national day of duck butter? Spaghetti Squash Day? Is it National Eat an Old Subway B.M.T. on a Bench Day? It’s hard to keep track of food trends in the age of food trends. Trends in food used to be simple: It was listed on the menu. As a kid, we found out what comfort food was trendy by seeing it on top of a CiCi's pizza. Now, we all know the moment chanterelles are in vogue. A bat signal will shoot out into the sky when Reubens are hot.
For me, fried chicken sandwiches are immortal. Fried chicken sandwiches, smoking hot with cooling slaw and a shattering fried skin, are one of the great sandwiches of the world. A perfect fried chicken sandwich can change your life. It lodges itself in your DNA and you can never eat a cardboard chicken sandwich again. In honor of nothing — nothing except fried chicken sandwiches — here are eight sandwiches in Dallas that will change you:
The Foundry or Chicken Scratch Fork & Knife Chicken Finger Biscuit Sandwiches at Chicken Scratch
On a postcard of the Dallas skyline, maybe next to Reunion Tower and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, should sit the towering chicken biscuit sandwich icons at Chicken Scratch. The Foundry, a sandwich named after the bar where this chicken sammy lives, is maddeningly juicy chicken strips jailed in crisp breading, piled high with mashed potatoes and beer-infused mustard. A long bacon slice acts like a balance pole across the biscuit, and oregano vinegar honey is drizzled over a slice of American cheese. Hey, that’s weird: My eyes are dilated and I’m breathing heavily. Anyway! The biscuit sandwiches are show-stoppingly good. For The Chicken Scratch, a spot-on egg is balanced over the same fried chicken and beautifully salty collard greens. Don’t share.
2303 Pittman St., Dallas; Sandwiches $9-$11
The Amy at Hypnotic Donuts
It’s all about indulgence at Hypnotic. The Amy sandwich is fried chicken, bacon, pickles, Southwest spicy mustard, cheddar and a drizzle of honey. Yeah, it’s not good for you. Is anything? Hypnotic marinates their chicken for 24 hours and then cooks it to order. In confirming this info, I asked Hypnotic proprietor James St. Peter: “The chicken is marinated 24 hours in advance and cooked to order? Can you give me a hint of your marinade? Or is it a to-death secret?” To which he responded: “Correct. On both parts. Ha.” Secret marinade it is.
Multiple locations; $7
Pistachio Fried Chicken Sandwich at Old Monk
Sometime in the future, a dusty dictionary will open and under the word “crunchy” you will find a photo of the pistachio fried chicken sandwich at The Old Monk. Chicken soaks in buttermilk before getting coated with pulverized pistachios, then fried into pieces of fantastically golden chicken. The crunch of the pistachio batter satisfies to the toes. Swiss cheese adds a pungent sharpness, and honey mustard rounds out the edges. Big bites only.
2847 N. Henderson Ave.; $10.50
The Hot Fried Chicken Bun at Top Knot
A few weeks ago, Top Knot Chef Angela Hernandez, talking with the Observer, exclaimed her favorite dish on the menu was “one little chicken sandwich.” “We thought we nailed it at first, but then we tweaked it and tweaked it to get it to where it is today," she said. "It kind of represents what we do here because you have it once and then you crave it.” The chicken is topped with a cornichon gastrique, set over pickle, and delicately balanced on a Parker House roll. Just look at it — you need it.
2817 Maple Ave.; $6.5
The Crispy Chicken Breast at Uncle Uber’s Sammich Shop
Thank you for being reliable, Uncle Uber. Most sandwiches on the menu at the Deep Ellum sandwich spot are a go-to for lunch (do add a bag of salt and vinegar chips). Same goes for the smart, simple and well-executed crispy chicken sandwich, which is loaded up with Uber’s sauce, romaine and onion on a lightly toasted bun. It’s under 10 bucks, and has a homemade flavor profile that will make you rethink making sandwiches at home again.
2713 Commerce St., $6.99
The Litigator at Off-Site Kitchen
Thanks to near-perfect burgers, you may have overlooked a few options at Off-Site. For example: The sloppy joe taco is the best version of the cafeteria Sloppy Joe that's ever happened, and The Litigator — a crispy cloud of fried chicken with mustard, bacon, American cheese and chopped jalapeños — will send tears to your eyes. Why? Because this is the chicken sandwich you wish you had when you drove through Chick-Fil-A. A cold slice of American cheese, placed right on top of the hot chicken, and the jalapeños chopped into a punchy relish, put this little sandwich into the stratosphere.
331 Singleton Blvd., No. 100, $6.59
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The Fried Chicken and Biscuits at The Skellig
Sister-restaurant to the Old Monk, The Skellig has a winner of a fried appetizer: Three chicken biscuit sliders. Smoky chipotle mayo is the spark here, paired with sharp slaw and house biscuits that top the fried chicken like Devo energy domes. They’re good, and they come in threes. That doesn’t mean everyone gets one. Practice the slapping-hands-away-strikes at home beforehand.
2409 N. Henderson Ave.; $11
The Fried Chicken + Jack at East Hampton Sandwich Company
If Food Network is the overlord of food trends, than you must obey a decree about amazing fried chicken sandwiches. East Hampton's was rated one of 12 amazing sandwiches, coast to coast, and Food Network, we humbly admit, is right. The sandwich is special: Fried chicken is curtained with pepper jack, fresh greens, tomato, bacon and mashed avocado. A stupidly good jalapeño cream sauce notches up the acid, cutting through the textures. It’s a sandwich, like the rest of Dallas’ best, that should live to be immortal in the face of pretentious food trends.
Multiple locations; $10.80