22 December, 2009
Southern Fast Food Series #1: Bojangles’ — Restaurant ReviewPosted in : Dining in Durham - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez
Thus begins my Southern Fast Food series. I was convinced by my friends, Iris and Laura, or perhaps by the fruity rum cocktails I’d been drinking, that I needed to give the chains located in my present state of residence a shot. This was after I had proclaimed loudly and proudly to have never stepped foot inside a Bojangles’, Biscuitville, or Bob Evans in my life. Iris and Laura concentrated their efforts on my need to try a Cajun chicken biscuit and any of Sonic’s multiple crazy drinks. I was worn down. This series is the results of their efforts. I hope to make it out alive.
Locations throughout the Southeast, creeping to Pennsylvania and . . . Honduras? Huh.
Location where I ate: 4600 Garret Road, Durham
Laura accompanied me for this meal and her guidance was needed – I barely made it through the ordering process with her help. Bojangles’ has a menu that includes fried chicken, fried chicken sandwiches on biscuits or bread, sides including seasoned french fries, dirty rice, mac and cheese, potatoes and gravy, and coleslaw, and your standard drink selection with an emphasis on sweet tea. There are also mysterious items like botatos and BoBerry sweet biscuits. I learned, as I placed my order, that a chicken biscuit combo with seasoned fries and sweet tea is the standard request as the waitress streamed the words together with just a hint of a question in her voice the moment I said, “Combo.” I faltered under the strength of her conviction to ask for coleslaw instead of the fries but did manage to order Mountain Dew instead of sweet tea. I think I threw her a curveball when I added a sweet potato pie to the meal. While Laura informed me that Bojangles’s recipe is the epitome of properly made sweet tea, I still couldn’t convince myself to try it out. All previous attempts have ended in my dumping the stuff out about three sips in. Unsweet tea, my preferred fast food drink, was definitely not an option here.
I glanced at the side offerings in the case as we waited for our food. The dirty rice looked appealing and I regretted not ordering it instead of the fries, as I’d avoided it since I assumed there’d be beans. This rice looked mostly bean-free so I would have been okay. As it turned out, the fries were my favorite part of the meal, so I’d made the right choice by letting the cashier chose for me.
Food came fast, though I was given sweet tea instead of Mountain Dew, which was quickly remedied. I believe it was part of a conspiracy, nonetheless. Laura instructed me to shake some seasonings over my fries, which I did dutifully. We sat down and dug in.
The fries were great! They are halfway between steak fries and thin ones and come with bits of potato skin still on. A bit greasy, but the seasoning was excellent. It’s essentially a seasoning salt that’s heavy on the paprika and has a good amount of chili powder. It also dulled my taste buds after awhile. Perhaps that’s part of Bojangles’ business plan?
The basic chicken biscuit has a spicy surprise.
Beneath the fried coating, which was a bit too mealy for my liking, there is an excellent dusting of spicy orange . . . stuff? I suppose it might have been more paprika and chili powder and it gave the sandwich a good level of spice, without which it would have been pretty boring. The biscuit was fluffy and had a nice buttery coating but was thinner than I expected.
I finished the meal off with their sweet potato pie.
Okay, that’s a lie. I finished the meal off with more fries after eating half my sweet potato pie. That was really all I could eat of it – way too much nutmeg and way too little sweet potato flavor in the thick, dense filling. The flaky crust was fine.
On its own, I give Bojangles’ a
rating. In the grand scheme of fast food, I’d place it above Taco Bell and Wendy’s but below the other burger joints. What about you? What should I try if I go back again? Is it impossible to truly understand Bojangles’ appeal without drinking the sweet tea? Anywhere else you’d like to see me try? I think Sonic might be next on the list.