Chicken-Fried Chicken @ Carnation Cafe

Price: $17.00

When: December 17, 2016, 7:15 PM

Reservations: Recommended

Verdict? Not recommended

We are at the Carnation Cafe. I’m grooving on the Sourdough Bacon Cheese Melt. Elaine went a different direction: the Chicken-Fried Chicken.

Expectations are high. We love Carnation. And our other fried chicken experience in the park – Chicken at the Plaza Inn – was a standout. We are hoping for something solid. Maybe even special.

The dish arrives, and it looks good. There’s a nice, large piece of fried chicken, a side of mashed potatoes, some veg, some gravy, and a dinner roll with butter. It’s giving off an enticing aroma. Excellent.

We get to work.

The first bite is great. The chicken is a large, flat piece of meat, breaded and fried. I swirl it around in the gravy, catch a small bit of mashed potato on the fork, and start chewing. The flavors mingle nicely; you can feel each piece trying to do its job. There’s a touch of spice in the breading, which was a surprise.

The problem arrives on subsequent bites: things get monotonous. The chicken is heavily breaded, and the breading takes just … takes … over. You’re eating spicy breading, basically, and every other flavor becomes subordinate (or invisible). Finishing becomes a chore. Something to get through.

In terms of the plate: the mashed potatoes are solid. The veg is lackluster. The roll is perfectly fine. And the gravy is tasty, but really only works to complement the potatoes (it gets lost in the breadiness of the chicken).

Much as I love Carnation, this dish isn’t their best work. I wouldn’t eat it again.

Not recommended.