Chicken sandwiches: Nothing to squawk about


Angelina Ning '23

The Chick-Fil-A signature, their Chicken Sandwich.


Chick-Fil-A is known for its fantastic chicken sandwiches, but how good are they really? To try Chick-Fil-A, most people in San Francisco would have to drive over an hour to redwood city or San Jose to try it. But since the first Chick-Fil-A restaurant located in the San Francisco Bay Area recently opened on Nov. 18, they no longer have to drive hours to try Chick-Fil-A’s chicken sandwich.

The new restaurant opened up in Daly City at the Serramonte shopping center. But currently only accepts orders through their drive-thru. I ordered their original Chick-Fil-A chicken burger; a chicken breast burger served pickle slices on a toasted butter bun. I excluded the pickles in my order because I believe that pickles do not belong on anything, especially sandwiches. Although the burger overall seemed relatively small, I could tell that it would be filling enough when I took a bite into it. The chicken was thickly cut and reminded me of a Japanese katsu sando, a sandwich with two fluffy pieces of milk bread with mayo and Tonkatsu sauce.

The first bite of the Chick-fil-A sandwich was a mix of sweet and savory. The chicken was tender and breaded with smaller bits of bread crumbs, but the sweet taste of the bun combined the savory goodness of the chicken. The burger was good by itself and juicy enough without the sauce, but I chose to dip a bit into the famous Chick-Fil-A sauce. Their secret sauce created an interesting flavor combination and added an additional tangy taste and creamy texture to the already delicious burger. Altogether the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich was satisfying, and there was nothing wrong that stood out about it; as a result, this solid chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A receives a score of 4/5 stars.

Hard Knox

Located near the heart of the outer Richmond on 26th and Clement Streets is Hard Knox Cafe, a southern homestyle cooking sit-down restaurant that serves any feel-good food you can think of. From Fried Chicken to oxtail and an extensive brunch menu, you can count on Hard Knox to satisfy your southern cooking needs. 

I’ve been to Hard Knox before and loved their pulled pork and their “Juicy Lucy” hamburger, but not their fried chicken sandwich, which is what I ordered today. The sandwich comes with your choice of side, including mashed potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese, candied yams, yam fries, regular french fries, and more. 

I decided to go with the candied yams and two pieces of homemade cornbread muffins that were only a dollar. The restaurant offers indoor seating to vaccinated guests and also offers outdoor seating; however, I opted to get my order to go.

Opening the plain white takeout box, I was hit with the intense aroma of the chicken sandwich, which was dressed with a surprisingly small amount of house-made aioli sauce and an ungodly amount of coleslaw beneath the fried chicken breast filet. Next to it were the candied yams, which looked to serve at least three people. Finally, the two cornbread muffins, which came wrapped in tinfoil.

I first went for a forkful of the candied yams, and let me tell you, they were great. They were sweet and warm, although they felt more like a dessert the more and more I kept eating them. Next, I tried the cornbread muffins, and they were a hit. They were light, sweet, and crumbly, such a good deal for only a dollar. 

Finally, it was time for the main meal, the fried chicken sandwich. Going in, I had high hopes as Hard Knox rarely disappoints, but this time, they did. Taking my first bite, I was hit with the seasoning of the chicken skin, which was really good and packed a nice punch. Next, I tasted the slight kick in the household aioli, which was really good and finally suppressed by the cool coleslaw underneath. 

The flavors were all there. However, my main gripe is how thin the chicken breast was. It was like I was only eating the breading. The next gripe is how much coleslaw was on the sandwich. It really overpowered all the flavors that the chicken had to offer and drenched the bread, resulting in it falling apart. I literally had one bite of straight coleslaw–no Bueno. 

My final verdict on the Fried Chicken from the Hard Knox Cafe is that the sandwich was pretty good but not great. The thin breast really made the sandwich underwhelming, and all the coleslaw made it feel like I was eating a salad. The highlight of the meal definitely was the sides, which is not what you want when eating a chicken sandwich. I give the sandwich a saddening 3.5/5 stars. 

The Bird

In search of an outstanding chicken sandwich, I grazed the depths of the internet and came across The Bird, a simplistic establishment located on 115 Montgomery Street in San Francisco, serving hearty-chicken dishes, along with unique sides. 

Supported by high praise from media companies and food critics alike, I found myself flocking to the restaurant on Black Friday. 

From their quality-over-quantity menu, I ordered the Fried Chicken Sandwich paired with a side of Fully Loaded Tater Tots, priced at $10.25 and $4.75, respectively. Shortly after ordering, my number was called to retrieve the much-anticipated meal and was soon greeted by golden brown crispy chicken complemented by vibrant coleslaw and pickles while being held together by red and white checkerboard paper.

With chewing away at the first bites of the sandwich, the textures and flavor consisted of complementary combinations, as the tender meat and crunchy cabbage upheld the soft brown bun. At the same time, the bold, seasoned breading and the chill vegetables and creamy mayonnaise ensured an equal experience. 

The flavors were indeed one-of-a-kind. However, after it was half-devoured, the sandwich seemed to have lost its chemistry and headed downhill. While the mayo-lathered bun acted as a slip-n-slide for the coleslaw and chicken slab, it felt as if the breading got weaker and thinner, as the meat itself seemed to become overpoweringly flavorless and increasingly rubbery for my teeth to tear apart. Sadly, the sandwich did not end with a bang but instead with lonely scraps of coleslaw. 

Despite my let-down experience, I am eager to try The Bird’s sandwich once again, as my meal may have just been a tiny hiccup in their thousands of sandwiches made on a weekly basis. 

Furthermore, I would recommend this establishment to all chicken lovers, as their flavors and textures are among the best in the city. However, I do wish the same tastes remain consistent throughout the whole sandwich in the future. Altogether The Bird receives 4/5 stars.