Thursday, March 18, 2010

Battle of the dishes: Buffalo chicken sandwiches

Posted By on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge We no longer have nuggets, now we have boneless filets.
  • We no longer have nuggets, now we have boneless filets.

With March Madness starting right now, I intend to be knee deep in buffalo sauce and nacho cheese before the weekend hits. And if KFC is right about mankind, we don't want to deal with any impediment to overeating, such as bones in our chicken.

Because I refuse to eat the "meaty" KFC boneless filet -- which the Impulsive Buy compares to "four McDonald's chicken nuggets fused together" -- I opted for a slightly safer option: the buffalo chicken sandwich. The two contestants in today's battle are a sub shop and a wing joint -- each represents one of the two places you're most likely to find an acceptable boneless chicken option.

click to enlarge planetsub.buffalochicken.jpg

Planet Sub has the Buffalo Chicken ($5.19 for six inches, $8.79 for 12 inches): the restaurant's signature chicken with spicy pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and buffalo sauce on toasted bread. Ranch or blue cheese is available on request.

This is a spicy, messy, perfectably acceptable sandwich. The cheese gets overwhelmed by the Tabasco and vinegar, but the fresh lettuce and tomatoes at least help with the illusion that this could be healthy. That is, until I add on a large dollop of Hidden Valley Blue Cheese dressing. The bread is toasty, the ingredients all taste right. This is not, however, a sandwich that is greater than the sum of its parts. 

click to enlarge messys.chicken.jpg
Messy's Birds & Brews (3605 Broadway) has a grilled or fried chicken sandwich ($6 on a round roll) served plain or spun in one of 12 sauces. I opted for the mild buffalo sauce (it was my second buffalo chicken sandwich that day).

The chicken is topped with lettuce, tomato and onion. The boneless filet -- grilled breast -- is juicy and coated with a healthy painting of the tangy sauce. It's a sandwich that gets better the further you get into it -- pepper, garlic and maybe a hint of paprika made me glad the flavor of the buffalo sauce wasn't hidden under ranch dressing.  

Messy's wins this one -- both for superior chicken and sauce. The sandwich is the right size, leaving more than enough room to match the heat of the buffalo sauce with a few bottles of Boss Tom's -- either that, or some of Messy's homemade mozzarella sticks.

[Boneless filet image via Brand Eating]

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