When: March 6, 2016, 11:30 AM
Verdict? Not recommended
As mentioned in our review of their Pork Spareribs, River Belle Terrace has gone through a menu rebuild this year. New menu = lots of fun things to try. With so many choices, we asked our server for guidance. She confessed that the ribs were at the top of her list, followed by the Fried Chicken Sandwich.
Perfect. Let’s do that.
Like the ribs, the Fried Chicken Sandwich comes with two sides: baked beans, plus another of your choice. Since Elaine had previously sampled the “seasoned tater bits,”we decided to try the potato salad.
The sandwich itself is a very, very literal food item: a large piece of fried chicken, served on a bun. Boom. It’s a big damn sandwich – about 3″ high – and provokes a “how the hell will I ever fit this in my mouth?” reaction.
The initial bite was very positive. There’s a lot of flavor and texture going on. The chicken is good-quality. The bun is good-quality. The whole thing is slathered in barbecue sauce. There’s the occasional fried jalapeño. Nice. I chewed, happily, and was looking forward to the rest.
The problem started on the second bite.
Once the novelty of the sandwich wears off, you see its shortcomings pretty quickly. For starters: this is super, super bready. The chicken is (thickly) breaded; the bun is huge. That’s a lot of bread in every bite.
Second, the flavors don’t really commingle or reinforce each other. Eating this feels more like eating distinct ingredients than a single, integrated dish. In fact, it’s slightly more enjoyable (and easier to eat!) if you disassemble the sandwich, and eat the individual ingredients on their own. Not good.
In terms of sides: the beans are identical to those served with the Pork Spareribs. They’re good, but not special. The potato salad, however, is solid. It’s a nice, well-dressed potato salad, with mustard, and egg thrown into the mix. I liked it a lot.
Despite its promise, this dish needs a rework. I don’t recommend it.