What’s better than ‘Better Chicken?’ How about ‘The Chicky Bunch’?
On October 2, The Chickery, the fast-casual, self-styled “better chicken” spot in Dupont Circle, debuted two new menus and a rebranding spurred with a recent partnership with Chef Spike Mendelsohn.
The former Top Chef contestant, is the chef-owner of several popular area restaurants such as Santa Rosa Taqueria, We, The Pizza, and – personal favorite – Good Stuff Eatery. He has no ownership stake in The Chickery, which makes this venture a bit of a departure for the chef.
He cited the attractiveness of the brand as one of the driving factors for his involvement, but he felt more could be done to tap into some of the sillier aspects of the concept. Enter: ‘The Chicky Bunch.’
The concept’s new lunch and dinner menu will center around this family of eight sandwiches – one of which, the CauliFire, is vegetarian. Other sandwiches include the Blue Hot: hot fried chicken, lettuce, pickles, blue cheese crumbles, and buttermilk ranch dressing; Tête-à-Cluck: rotisserie chicken, french fries, cheddar cheese curds, and gravy; GuakGuak: rotisserie chicken, guacamole, apple smoked bacon, swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato; and the CauliFire: battered and fried cauliflower steak, Chickery hot sauce, lettuce, tomato, and buttermilk ranch dressing. (For what it’s worth, Chef Spike says his favorite is the Open Sesame: crispy chicken, crunchy slaw, scallions, Asian sesame BBQ, mayo, on white pullman bread).
As part of the menu rollout, The Chickery provided The Hungry Lobbyist access to try new items, which also include a smattering of new sides. We opted for The Chickery Classic (crispy chicken, lettuce, pickles, buttermilk herb mayo) and the BBQ Big Dixie (pulled rotisserie chicken, BBQ sauce, creamy and crispy slaws), plus mac n’ cheese and street corn.
I’m happy to report that both sandwiches we tried were excellent – the chicken was perfectly crispy on the Classic and nicely tender on the Dixie. Plus, those buns, man. Delicious to start, they don’t fall apart as you eat. This is important because, as those of us Good Stuff fans know to be true, there will be sauces.
I counted eight (one for each chicken sandwich perhaps?): you have your ketchup and honey mustard, but also more complex fare like chipotle lime crema, asian sesame, and thai sweet & sour. For me, I’ll eat anything that comes with the BBQ sauce on the Big Dixie. Hell, I’ll eat plastic, I don’t care.
What of the second menu, you ask? The Dupont spot has also introduced a new late night menu that will be available from 9:30 P.M. to 3:30 A.M. Thursday through Sunday. The menu will feature chicken cones – a waffle cone filled with crispy chicken tossed in one of seven sauces – and select Chicky Bunch sandwiches.
If those are nearly as good as the sandwiches, I may have to start going to Madhatter again.