First, I know that Swiss Chalet isn’t really considered “fast food.” Going by Wikipedia’s description, it’s “casual dining,” and I concur with that assessment. Of course, Red Lobster isn’t, either, but in either case, I don’t have anywhere more appropriate to tag them. If I end up with a need for a “casual dining” tag (I should be so lucky), then I’ll gladly throw these two articles in there for it.
Second, with that out of the way, this isn’t the first time that Swiss Chalet has offered a crispy chicken dish, nor the first time I’ve partaken of it. However, from what I remember of the last time, what they offered was a breaded chicken filet cutlet — the kind you find in chicken Parmesan or on a chicken sandwich, which is what I had. It was alright, maybe underwhelming — I don’t remember anything spectacular nor terrible about it, nor was I clamoring for them to bring it back.
But this new Kick’n Crispy Chicken? Ah, now that’s different. Unlike the cutlet, this is actually crispy fried bone-in chicken, like you’d get at KFC or Mary Brown’s. That got my attention, and I knew I had to give it a try.
In addition to being bone-in chicken, Swiss Chalet boasts that their Kick’n Crispy Chicken is fresh (one would hope) and not frozen, and has been marinated for 24 hours, with “hints” of their signature Chalet sauce. Seen above, you can get it in a “Quarter” or “Half” chicken dinner. What’s interesting for those who’ve had Swiss Chalet before is that unlike their rotisserie chicken, which gives you the chicken in one whole piece, the crispy pieces are separated into the individual components you’d expect when ordering fried chicken.
The Quarter meal is $12.99, and comes with a leg and a thigh, two sides, coleslaw, a roll, and a cup of Chalet sauce, while the Half Chicken meal is the same, but gives you a breast and wing as well for $5 more. There’s also the Crispy Family Pack, which gives you eight pieces (so the whole chicken, I think?), four sides, four rolls, a large coleslaw, and 12oz. of Chalet sauce for $34.99. Or if all you want is the chicken, you can order for pick-up or carry-out and get eight for $27.99, or 16 for $54.99.
I opted for the Half Chicken dinner (with the intent of bringing home leftovers), and got a baked potato and their new White Cheddar & Parmesan Mac n’ Cheese on the side. Here’s how it looked when it was delivered to our table:
I’m only focusing on the new stuff, so starting with the chicken, I found it to be quite pleasing — much more memorable than the cutlet I’d had previously. We did have some concerns upon being seated as a gentleman who seemed to be wandering the restaurant warned us of it being particularly spicy, but that wasn’t really the case. At least, not in any heat-related way.
There was a definite savory flavor which stood out in a good way, but neither my wife nor I found it to be especially hot. Bold, but not overwhelmingly so — enough that whoever came up with this recipe clearly knew what they were doing with regards to the flavor balance. That said, I can’t really say that I noticed anything particularly Chalet sauce-like in the flavor, and nor did my wife.
The breading was, as advertised, crispy with a nice flaky quality to it. Great to eat, and great to dip in the provided Chalet sauce. The chicken meat underneath was plump and juicy as well, not to mention flavorful, and also plays very well with the Chalet sauce. I generally prefer dark meat because it tends to be more flavorful, but the breast I ate stood quite well on its own. There were bottles of Frank’s Red Hot sauce on the table as well, which is featured in the promotion, but I didn’t feel it was needed. Those looking for a hotter punch might be interested, though.
All in all, this was just good fried chicken — something I’m beginning to feel almost spoiled for as of late. Or at least I would, but I’ll get to that in a moment. While I prefer KFC’s Boneless Original Recipe Tenders to their bone-in chicken, I feel like Swiss Chalet’s Kick’n Crispy Chicken is what I’ll be craving in the bone-in category from now on.
As noted, one of the sides I tried was their new White Cheddar & Parmesan Mac n’ Cheese. You can see what I got in the lower-right of the plate in the picture I took above, compared to what they show on the website directly above, where it is described as “Macaroni noodles in a white cheddar garlic cream sauce topped with shredded Parmesan cheese and a seasoned crumb topper.”
For what it’s worth, it was alright. I was disappointed to find no seasoned crumb topper (I think there might have been a little bit blended with the mac ‘n cheese), and I guess the shredded Parmesan cheese must have melted in or something; it was nigh-indistinguishable from the pasta and sauce if it was there.
That basically left the macaroni noodles and white cheddar garlic cream sauce to fend for itself, and as I said, it did alright for itself in that regard. It wasn’t remarkable by any stretch, but nor did it offend. The noodles were soft but somewhat firm, maybe not unlike what I’ve come to expect from some pre-made mac ‘n cheese dishes, while the sauce provided a nice but mild flavor. By no means bland, but it didn’t do much to stand out. I’d consider eating it again, but it’s not something I’d miss terribly, either.
Which brings us to the good and the bad at the end here. Swiss Chalet introduced their Kick’n Crispy Chicken on May 17th, and it is woefully not long for this world, as it will only be available until June 11th — not even a full month. I’m not going to lie, I’m going to hate to see it go, especially as I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get in again before they pull it from the menu.
Their new sides, the White Cheddar & Parmesan Mac n’ Cheese and Cheddar & Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes (which I didn’t get because I can’t stand Jalapeno; Nadia liked them, however), were introduced at the same time, but I don’t know if they’ll be removed from the menu at the same time as the Kick’n Crispy Chicken.
There are only 13 days left to try the Kick’n Crispy Chicken, so if you like bone-in fried chicken, I strongly recommend trying it while it lasts by either dining in or ordering online. With any luck, demand will be strong enough that they add it to their menu permanently.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.