Lines half a mile down the street? Fastest-growing chicken restaurant of 2016?
I was ready to find out what all the rage was about at Louisiana-based Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. Hungry in Costa Mesa, CA, I saw it on the map. First off, lines weren’t long. Second, food was not such a sensation as I expected and hoped for.
The chicken fingers Basically, they’re the only thing on the menu in different combos. They are NOT the processed, grinded down into paste and reformed into a finger shape with the right amounts of meat and fat, like a sausage patty from the frozen food section at the supermarket. They are hearty chunks of chicken breast. They are battered in house and super crunchy. They’re served hot and juicy. They come with their own secret sauce, a blend of mayo, ketchup, worcestershire, black pepper and garlic. At best, the sauce is a curiosity, but it’s not something I developed an immediate craving for.
The chicken fingers are above-grade but not an epiphany (like the first time I tried wambutan). There’s no spices in the batter, so they come out a bit flat.
The sweet tea This Southern delight is a treat, and you can mix in unsweetened tea if it’s too sugary for you. But you may not need to because Raising Cane’s serves crushed ice instead of ice cubes and it melts faster into your drink watering it down. I’m not a fan of the crushed ice.
The Texas toast More than anything, the toast was a sensation. First off, I was surprised to find it in my menu. Here in Los Angeles, nobody else includes a slice of toast in a fast food meal. Secondly, it was delicious. Thick spongey white bread friend with butter on one side, the Texas toast melted in my mouth.
The coleslaw Standard and unimpressive, the slaw was cut into tiny squares, drenched with too much dressing, like everybody does, and served in a plastic cup with a top.
The crinkle fries Below grade, the fries tasted like Ora-Ida frozen fries. Mine came lukewarm at best and were a bit disappointing.
The interior decorating Strangely, I feel compelled to write about the decor. Raising Cane’s is the most attractive, modern-looking restaurant inside. Apparently, they put a decent effort into the visual impact their restaurant makes on customers. The lighting was by spotlight, which was cool but didn’t help my photos.
The bottom line I won’t mind going back, but I won’t see out Raising Cane’s. The hype had me prepared for something akin to a perfect chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven. Would I choose Raising Cane’s over other fast food joints? Yes, but not all. I’d much father a Freddy’s, a Culver’s, a Chick-Fil-A or a Wahoo’s Fish Tacos.
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