“Let’s Eat a Chicken Sandwich” is I Ate Oklahoma’s newest recurring feature, rounding up the best locally made chicken sandwiches for you to eat with your mouth.
Nashbird Hot Dang Chicken
Item: Hot! Chicken Sandwich
Price: $9.75, including one side
It took me far too long, but I have finally cracked the code for ordering a chicken sandwich at Nashbird.
The small (but growing!) local Nashville-style hot chicken chain captured many a heart with its spicy scale (from Southern Fried all the way up to Crazy Hot) and pickle ranch dressing. My friend Zach Smith, a man whose humor is only matched by his cast-iron stomach lining, swears by Nashbird’s strips and I can’t disagree.
But, try as I might, I could not get onboard with Nashbird’s chicken sandwiches...until now.
The Hot! Chicken Sandwich ($9.75) includes your choice of seasoning, can be grilled or fried, and comes with lemon mayo, housemade pickles, and a pile of slaw on a brioche bun. I enjoy coleslaw. As far as cabbage salads go, it’s near the top. But ask them to put it on the side or leave it off altogether on your sandwich.
Or don’t. It’s up to your tastes, after all. But for me, a slaw-less sandwich was what it took to put me over the top on Nashbird’s menu.
For me, coleslaw on the Hot! Chicken Sandwich is overkill. It’s that one extra thing that, rather than adds, subtracts from the whole. It’s a pretty juicy slaw, for one thing, but the messiness is just one issue. While I love an accoutrement that cuts through a dish and showcases a different side of the ingredients, I think the slaw on the sandwich just weighs it down too much. The crispness of the slaw detracts from the crunch of the fried chicken breast, and the moisture soaks into the bun, which makes the brioche gummy.
Look, good fried chicken should be moist on its own and Nashbird does good fried chicken, so the slaw is unnecessary. Plus, the lemon mayo gets to shine when it’s not covered up with the slaw.
Without the slaw, the Hot! Chicken Sandwich is a delight. It’s more portable, less messy, and it really lets the seasoning—the star of Nashbird’s lineup—shine. If you want to be able to pick out different characteristics in the chili powders, you need to eat it without too many distractions. The pickle adds a vinegary pop. The lemon mayo is lightly tart and helps keep everything easy to eat.
The best part is, it comes with a side, and I think the mac and cheese or the cucumber and onion salad are exceptional. (Fries, onion rings, etc. are also available and are pretty good, too.)