Shake Shack unleashed a new chicken sandwich on the world on Thursday.
The “Salt & Pepper Honey Chick’n” sandwich is only being served at Shake Shack’s Brooklyn, NY locations.
While it’s a limited item, it may just end up staying — the Chick’n Shack sandwich started as a test item at Brooklyn locations, too.
But how does the sandwich taste?
The Chick’n Shack was one of the best new menu items of 2015, and is still a massively impressive chicken sandwich — it may just be my personal favourite.
The new Salt & Pepper Honey Chick’n sandwich is a somewhat simpler variation. The devilishly crispy and tender chicken still takes center stage, but gone is the shredded lettuce, the pickle chips, and the herbed mayo.
Enveloped within the pillowy potato roll is the hunk of buttermilk marinaded chicken slathered with salted honey and black pepper. Slathered may not be the most accurate word — perhaps lightly brushed is closer.
There’s not a whole lot of the honey, which is a great thing. On the first bite, it’s a very light and alluring suggestion of sweetness — nothing sickly or cloying. The pepper is subtle, and it brings a satisfying warmth to the tongue that melds with the smooth honey flavour.
Yet, the sandwich feels unfinished. I was shocked to learn that it did not have pickles in it — what better way to bring clarity to the satiated warmth of honey and pepper than the bright, acidic crunch of a pickle chip? Pickles are a time honored tradition amongst the fray of fried chicken sandwiches, and the taste works for a reason. Or they could buck tradition and place some pickled onions on top for a tart, sharp twist.
Or, perhaps a dipping sauce, or an additional sauce in the sandwich is necessary. As one esteemed BI taster noted, Shake Shack’s chicken, while tender, isn’t juicy enough to stand on its own without a saucy buttress or veggie accoutrements.
In the end, however, it still is a decent sandwich. Shake Shack knows how to fry a chicken breast to a crunchy crisp while managing to keep it tender, and that’s more than half the battle. A chicken sandwich by any other name smells as sweet — but at least this one has some honey.
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