We’ve been over this before; I LOVE fried food. It is a definite possibility that I would break the world record for heaviest woman alive if the Texas State Fair was in town more than once a year. Really though – when it comes to self-control and fried food, I have none.
When a friend suggested we check out Chicken Scratch in Oak Cliff, I was stoked. Hip? Check. Fried Chicken? Check. Cool atmosphere? Check. Loved it? Not so much.
I suppose I should have known that I wouldn’t be able to relate to when their website boasted the following: “Remember when you were a kid how every fall you would attend a family picnic for school. Your mother would pack a picnic blanket and a basket of cold fried chicken either she had made or had picked up from your local chicken restaurant.” Family picnic for school? I grew up in California and we didn’t do the organized school function shit. In fact, our idea of a picnic was getting baked down by the beach. Ah well, it is fried chicken after all – how bad could it be?
So let me just say that I don’t think Chicken Scratch is particularly bad but living in DA SOUTH, fried chicken places are all over the place and it takes quite a bit to stand out. Unfortunately, I don’t think the food from Chicken Scratch would stand out anywhere and if the location wasn’t so bad ass there wouldn’t be hype at all.
I almost dropped dead from excitement when we pulled up to this abandoned-petting-zoo-turned-outdoor-bar/concert hall/restaurant place. A dozen or so people were sitting outside on the picnic benches, sweating bullets, but clearly enjoying their time. Upon walking into Chicken Scratch, I immediately noticed the latest restaurant trends exploding from all angles. Menu on a chalkboard, crazy lighting and creative cocktails – in this case, booze popsicles reminded me that we were, in fact, in Dallas.
I ordered the 3 piece chicken strip meal with two sides. The choices all seemed equally gluttonous, but alas I settled on the mac ‘n’ cheese and a biscuit…as any true fried chicken meal should have! My friend on the other hand ordered a salad. What a dipshit. It wasn’t until after I had already ordered that I noticed the specialty sodas that Chicken Scratch serves. I’ve heard great things about these sodas but I had already ordered a beer from The Foundary next door and booze > not booze.
A quick 10 minutes later my food was delivered to my picnic bench by a confused waitress who tried to pawn my dish off to two other people before making her way to me. Don’t make me get all Teresa Guidice on you! At first glance, the chicken looked delicious. Topped with bread and butter-like pickles, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. Although the mac ‘n’ cheese was not particularly appealing at first glance, I have learned in my years to never judge food by the way it looks. Some of the most delicious things I’ve eaten resemble diarrhea a little too closely than I would like to admit. In this case, it was anything but delicious. The chicken was crunchy but I honestly couldn’t even begin to remember the taste of the crust because the meat itself was so dried out. Do they put pickles on top in hopes that the juices seep into the chicken? What.The.Hell. The biscuit tasted like it was prepared in an Elementary School cafeteria and the mac ‘n’ cheese was so…so…wrong. Overcooked noodles topped with commercially prepared nacho cheese’s sibling then a dash of pepper in hopes that it doesn’t taste like dog shit. Too bad it did.
I have read SO many reviews of Chicken Scratch that just rave about the chicken. Overall it seems that the sides are a lost cause but I think this place deserves a re-visit after more than 5 people said it “was like totally the best chicken I’ve ever had in my life. I die.” Well, I die too but only because this place blows. I have my fingers crossed that when I go back the chicken is as delicious as Yelp portrays it to be, but this time around I’m getting it on the bone!