The Crack Shack in Costa Mesa has been suggested to me several times on instagram. It took me longer than it should’ve, but I finally got a chance to try it this week.
While waiting for my sandwich, I thought about the nature of the name “Crack Shack”; Does it have to do with the egg cracking as the chicken hatches? Perhaps they’re counting on America’s war on drugs to do some marketing for them? as far as I can tell, the “Crack” in The Crack Shack refers to the chef/owners proprietary spice blend. I also wondered if the restaurant focused on bear meat instead of chicken, if it would be called “The Crack Den.”
This is the kind of idiocy that ensues when I’m bored and hungry.
The Crack Shack FireBird
The Firebird is served on a potato roll, it’s less dense than most buns I’ve had but still very buttery. Most of the chicken restaurants I’ve eaten at seem to serve thick buttery buns. It works well with the fried and heavily sauced sandwich, but I wouldn’t blame you if you grabbed a fork and knife and skipped the bun.
The Crack Shack’s deep fried chicken thigh is excellent. I don’t know what they do with their batter, but it’s crunch and texture is different from other places. A lot of restaurants cake on the batter and downplay the flavor of the chicken; The Firebird, although very saucy, still highlighted the chicken nicely. I thought the crispy onion straws would add more texture, but they blending in with the crispy chicken batter too much. They were good, but there was a point where I forgot they were there.
I usually steer clear of sandwiches that have ranch dressing as a sauce, because they usually all taste the same. I was convinced to try the firebird because It’s the Crack Shack’s best seller. Admittedly, all ranch dressing tastes the same to me, so I’m not sure if they’ve done anything special with it, but it did a good job cooling down the heat from the spicy sauce (maybe a little too good of a job). If you decided to take the sandwich out of the wrapper, grab extra napkins.
The Firebird is a little pricey at $11.50 a la carte, but I think the quality of the food very much justifies the price. After getting a drink and Schmaltz fries, my bill was almost $20; it’s one of the pricier lunches I’ve had in awhile. The fries at $3 for a “small,” is a strong portion and they’re cooked perfectly. Keep in mind they’re spices are a little intense, but there is a nice sauce selection for you to choose from.
Seems like chicken restaurants have been popping up around Orange County recently, and this place is certainly worth your consideration. I will be back to try other favorites and gorge on more fries.
[Click on thumbnails for sample menu]
The Crack Shack
196 E 17th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Sun – Thurs: 10AM – 9PM
Fri – Sat: 10AM – 10PM