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Getting Fried at Chicken Joe’s

January 18, 2012

Occasionally here at the MHK, the need for a quick dinner supersedes the need for a healthy dinner. That will explain why last night we decided to order takeout from Chicken Joe’s, a fairly new small chain with both of its locations only about a half mile apart from one another, both located in the affectionately named “student ghetto” that house many SUNY and St. Rose students. About 90% of the menu is deep fried, which is perfect for those late night drunken food binges that the college kids love so much (I know because I used to be one of them). The majority of the menu, as you’d expect, features chicken, in nugget form or good ol’ fried chicken. There are also a few sandwiches and burgers, hot dogs and the all-fried side orders of things like potato cones, onion rings, zucchini sticks (hey, they’re healthy!), corn fritters, and in case that’s not enough, fried mac n’ cheese bites. They must cart the oil in on tanker trucks daily for this place. But, apart from the outward appearance, the food wasn’t all bad.

We tried some of the chicken nuggets, served with sweet and sour sauce and hot sauce; a corn dog; potato cones; fries; two pieces of fried chicken; and yes, we tried the mac n’ cheese bites (Mrs. MHK is a mac n’ cheese freak). The nuggets, which are most prominent on the menu, were very disappointing. The breading was paper thin on the chicken pieces, so much so that it may as well have been left off. When I want fried chicken bits, I want that salty crunch from that breading so at least I can enjoy my unhealthy food. The corn dog was actually very good – the hot dog was thick and juicy, and the cornbread wrapping was crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It was a good corn dog for sure. The potato cones were essentially cone-shaped globs of mashed potatoes, fried with a thin breading. They weren’t bad, but left no desire to ever have them again. The fries were ok – crunchy on the outside and smooth enough on the inside, but there was a weird aftertaste with them. The fried chicken was the other item worth trying – a stark contrast from the nuggets, the wing and drumstick had a very crunchy coating with moist and tender chicken inside. The mac n’ cheese bites were simply not good. Small triangles of fried batter housed a small amount of mushy pasta and a gooey cheese sauce. If you’ve had the mac n’ cheese balls at the Cheesecake Factory, these are the polar opposite.

Prices are probably a little high with regard to quality, but for the amount of food it’s a good value. Chicken nugget specials include a side and drink and range from $5-$12. Fried chicken plates go from $4.50-$21.50, sandwiches and burgers will run you $5.50-$6.50, and sides range from $2.50-$10. So we would actually go back to Chicken Joe’s for corn dogs and fried chicken, but that’s about it…and we won’t be going back for quite a while so our cholesterol and sodium levels can return from the stratosphere. Oh, I forgot the desserts – fried brownies, fried cheesecake, and churros. No joke. Surprisingly, the soda and lemonade were not fried.

The Mouse House Kitchen gives Chicken Joe’s 2 out of 5 stars.

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