Volume 31



The Crack Shack revives classic fried chicken

The Crack Shack fulfills its promise of making high-quality fried chicken. Its menu is extremely creative, providing a refreshing approach to fried chicken.

The Crack Shack is a Southern Californian restaurant that aims to bring an imaginative, sophisticated take on a traditional menu. It focuses on using high quality ingredients and preparing fried chicken, a dish usually considered fast food, with attention and care.

“There’s no reason a $12 chicken sandwich can’t be treated like a $90 roast chicken,” chef Richard Blais, the restaurant’s culinary coach, said in an interview according to The Crack Shack’s website.

The Chicken:

The Crack Shack’s fried chicken is well-cooked, and the quality is immediately noticeable. The restaurant obtains all of its free-range, zero-antibiotic chicken from Jidori Chicken, a local supplier that caters to restaurants in the Los Angeles area.

In the article, “In Los Angeles, Jidori Chicken Is the New Kid in the Coop”, published on April 20, 2010 in the Los Angeles Times, writer Jennifer Steinhauer says that Jidori chicken is “a hyper-local specialty item, basic but beloved for its unrivaled freshness.”

The fried chicken was crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, a perfect combination. The chicken’s texture was extremely smooth, and I thoroughly enjoyed each bite. The high-quality ingredients made The Crack Shack’s fried chicken stand out clearly from other restaurants’ usually tough and dry chicken.

The fried chicken was dusted with “crack spice,” the restaurant’s special seasoning. The spicy blend of flavors added zest to the food, and I enjoyed this deviation from plain fried chicken. However, the seasoning was too salty for my taste, and it became monotonous and unappetizing after a few pieces.

The Sandwich:

Sandwiches are the main dish at The Crack Shack, and the menu contains six original options. I decided on the “Señor Croque.” The sandwich contained fried chicken breast, bacon, egg and white cheddar on a brioche bun.

The combination of chicken and bacon was very attractive in theory, but the execution wasn’t as successful as I hoped it would be. The sandwich only contained two strips of bacon, and the chicken overpowered the bacon’s taste. I felt like I was eating a normal chicken sandwich without any of the bacon’s much-needed flavor.

The other ingredients made the sandwich enjoyable even when it lacked a proper balance between the bacon and chicken. The runny egg created an extremely smooth texture, and the combination of the egg yolk with the fried chicken breast was a great pairing.The brioche bun was nicely-toasted, and its soft and smooth quality went perfectly with the rest of the sandwich. Also, the bun was battered with The Crack Shack’s special miso-maple butter, a surprising addition that added a slightly sweet aftertaste to each bite that complemented the other flavors.

The Bowl:

The Crack Shack also offers seven different bowls for customers who aren’t interested in the sandwiches. The bowls greatly differ in ingredients and each has a unique blend of flavors. They also contain only a few ingredients, which promotes the idea of being a healthy alternative to fried chicken.

I tried the Border Slaw, which had a tropical fruit theme, as a side dish to the sandwich and fried chicken. The bowl contained papaya, mango, jicama, coconut shavings and pineapple mixed together and dusted with chili. While all the fruitS were fresh and juicy, their tastes didn’t interact well.

The flavors of the papaya, mango and pineapple were all very strong and conflicted with each other. The added chili powder made the bowl even bolder, and I felt overwhelmed by the intense taste. Milder ingredients, like coconut and jicama, offset the bold fruits, but the their effect was too weak to deliver a good balance in the bowl. The Border Slaw’s strong taste made it an unenjoyable addition to my meal. The spice-coated fried chicken and the sandwich both had intense flavors, and a milder side dish would have allowed me to enjoy the food better.

The Shake:

The Crack Shack has a constantly-changing menu of milkshakes with creative new flavors. I tried a shake called The Cookie Monster, and it was a great addition to the other dishes. The shake was made of delicious vanilla ice cream with crumbled cookie pieces mixed in. Chocolate syrup was sprinkled on top of the shake. The shake’s smooth and thick texture made it really enjoyable. Also, it had just the right balance of sweetness that went along well with the chicken sandwich. The most exciting part of the shake, though, was that it was colored blue.

The Price:

The Crack Shack’s high pricing was another unappealing problem with the restaurant. The restaurant charges $12 for all of its sandwiches and $30 for 10 pieces of fried chicken. These prices are extremely high compared to other fried chicken restaurants’ menus. A sandwich at Chick-fil-a costs up to $7 and a 12-piece chicken meal at Kentucky Fried Chicken costs $13, according to the restaurants’ websites. The quality of the chicken and other dishes at The Crack Shack is clearly superior to the fast-food restaurants’ meals, but the price difference is too high to make The Crack Shack an accessible and inviting option.

The Crack Shack has a great menu with plenty of variety to choose from. I feel that each item is very well-made but has a few aspects that could be improved on. Overall, I think it is still a great place to dine at despite its problems. The restaurant is worth visiting again because there are so many different menu items left to try, but its high prices prevent it from becoming a place to eat at too often.

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