Let me tell you a little bit about something called a Salted Caramel Chicken Tender…
Just a few blocks north of Washington Square Park, deep in the heart of Greenwich Village, lies a small restaurant called Sticky’s Finger Joint. You walk in and the walls are adorned with murals celebrating the majesty and grace of the chicken tender. You stroll up to the counter and take a look at the menu. The friendly college student sitting behind the counter recommends a Salted Caramel tender. You are taken somewhat aback- ‘is this salted caramel fad still going on?’ you think to yourself.
You decide to throw caution to the wind and take the employee’s suggestion. A few minutes later, your dish emerges from the kitchen, cradled in a paper bowl and accompanied by a good size heaping of steaming, truffle-seasoned french fries. You take a closer look at your chicken tender and notice that its rich, coffee-colored exterior comes from its crushed pretzel breading. The whole thing is covered in thick, oozing caramel sauce; sprinkled with fresh sea salt; and garnished with two pretzel sticks. The tendrils of steam rising from the paper vessel smell of sugar and butter and a hint of barbecue.
You cut off a bite of the large tender, caramel dripping from your fork, and dip it into an accompanying homemade barbecue-meets-sriracha-meets-mayo sauce. As the bite enters your mouth, you consider utterly blasphemous the thought that this chicken tender would be anything less than a revelation. All flavors combine in such a way that it feels that nature intended them to be together. The crunch from the pretzel, sweetness of the caramel, tenderness of the chicken, and smokiness of the sauce are all accentuated by the sea salt- and it’s just a trip to weird flavor heaven. Oh yeah- and the fries are good too.
After the last few bites of exquisite chicken tender come and go, you lean back against the wall and reflect on the nearly life-changing experience you just went through. ‘Only in NYC,’ you think. And you’d be right.
So if you ever go to the Big Apple, never settle for a hot dog or a falafel or even a deliciously greasy slice of pizza. A strange and incredible morsel of classic New York pizzazz is waiting for you just a block or two away.