If you have read a few reviews on IhabDines.com, you’ll know I love to take bold claims to the test. Chickenow has quite a big one, claiming to have “the world’s best tenders”.
You can imagine how that must have intrigued me! So, to take them on, I visited their Shiekh Zayed Road branch which is very conveniently located in a busy area right beside the Metro station. They have ample interior and outdoor seating but being that we are in Dubai and the weather couldn’t get any worse, I was definitely sitting inside.
The only issue I have with Chickenow is the fact that the interior and outdoor lighting is extremely yellow! My pictures are edited to remove as much yellow tint as possible and after a while it was a tad too much for me.
They certainly went for a wood cabin look and the place looks nice and with a cozy feel. The counter is a typical fast food looking counter but quite well spaced out, you wont feel that your food is coming from the back of a dungeon as with other places. The salads are made right in front of you on the counter.
The staff were very nice, polite and welcoming when walking in.
Chickenow has an interesting menu with a variety of burgers (their highlight is that you can build your own burger), salads, chicken tenders and fried chicken (which can be ordered in different buckets)
Some branches have additional meals such as chicken kabsa, biryani and a signature Chickenow dish with gravy sauce.
Since this was my first visit, I needed some help ordering and thankfully, the staff were more than happy to assist me with my selection.. and boy what a selection I went for!
I sat by the window where I found an interesting metal tray where they had stuffed in tissues, cutlery and some condiments. I have some mixed feelings about this and am concerned if the staff maintains the cleanliness of these, but they looked pretty clean to me.
Food did take a little time, but I heard that food at Chickenow is made quite fresh, so I was willing to wait and hoping it was worth the wait.
Within a few minutes, the food started to come… time for some excitement!
Lets kick off with a few starters shall we? I started off with their Nachos and they were alright with little flavor, yummy jalapenos and two side sauces; a cheese dip and a garlic tomato sauce. The cheese dip was typical melted nacho cheese dip but the garlic tomato sauce was odd. Maybe they were thinking salsa, but the execution was quite different. It wasn’t bad but it was just different to what I was expecting and the garlic was a tad too strong.
All in all, it was a decent way to wait for my main dishes to come.
I had also sampled their coleslaw, mashed potatoes with gravy and sweet corn while waiting for my food. The coleslaw was not bad but not as flavorsome as I’ve previously had but the crunch of it felt fresh. The mashed potatoes were quite nice with good flavor and finally, the sweet corn was.. well.. as you’d expect from canned sweet corn.
But enough with the starters, lets get into the good stuff!
I had ordered their Southwest Salad with grilled chicken and yes, I was expecting some criticism ordering salad from a fast food place, but I wanted to try it out and see what it would be like.
The grilled chicken was very nice, tender and juicy. While some ingredients were really nice like the kidney beans and carrots, the rest had a bit of a refrigerated taste to it, which kind of killed it for me. There were some grilled potatoes on top, which were cold too. Perhaps try their Edamame salad, but i’d pass on the Southwest one.
First of the main dishes was the Mediterranean Chicken Wrap and before I get into it, there is one aspect of Chickenow which has to be mentioned, and that is that customers can order fried or grilled chicken options for all the orders of burgers and wraps.
Being that I had ordered 2 grilled chicken dishes, I went for fried chicken for this one. At first I wasn’t sure what flavors were they trying to achieve but in the end I figured it out. It was like an Arabic shawerma. The Mediterranean wrap has french fries, pickles, garlic and mayo sauces in it.
I am not sure if fried chicken worked with this kind of flavor, but I would surely recommend the grilled chicken instead. It was quite okay, but did not blow me away.
Just when I was feeling a little skeptical about my dinner at Chickenow, the server brought on my Meal For One – which consists of three chicken tenders, french fries, coleslaw and a serving of grandma sauce.
Grandma sauce is Chickenow’s specialty sauce which is a south western style home made sauce that has amazing flavor! it is slightly salty, a slight tangyness to it with spice – delicious sauce!
The french fries were nice, had good seasoning and a good crunch. Are you ready for the tenders review?
The world’s best chicken tenders is the official claim and although I cannot ignorantly say they are, I can admit that they are very very good!
Without a doubt they beat any fast food chicken tenders I’ve ever had!
I wanted to share how good the tenders are, so I cut it in half just to show that these chicken tenders are all Chicken! Some places have very little chicken covered in a huge amount of batter, while others have little of both resulting in super thin tenders. At Chickenow, it is clearly a thick cut of chicken that is super tender and juicy with a nice thin later of batter giving it the right amount flavor and crisp it needs. Great tenders.
Along with my tenders, they had served the Grandma Chicken Burger I had ordered with grilled chicken. It had chicken breast, turkey bacon, american cheese, iceberg lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and of course, grandma sauce!
It was a nice chicken burger with nice flavors, tender and juicy chicken breast and a nice soft bun. I would say this was a well put together burger. Considering you can create our own burger, you can tailor it to your exact liking but as far as ingredients go, it was pretty good.
Overall, If I had the choice between Chickenow and a competing fried chicken place, I would pick Chickenow without much thought. The restaurant is clean, nice and cozy, the staff are nice, down to earth and helpful, the food is quite decent but if I am visiting again, there is only one thing I would order and it is the same thing I would definitely recommend, the chicken tenders!
The service: As expected from a place like Chickenow – good, smiling and helpful staff who know the menu well and are able to make suggestions based on your mood. I had ordered two fried chicken meals and when I came to order a burger, they were like why not have it grilled instead so you can try out two fried and two grilled. This was quite nice as opposed to just letting me order what ever I wanted without thought. They were quick to serve and were around when anything was needed.
The value: The full Chickenow Menu can be found on their Facebook page, but their Meal For One tenders meal is for 38AED, which might be a little pricey compared to its direct competitors, but there are two main points to be made; the first is that the quality and flavors of the chicken tenders are on another level and secondly, there is a large variety of options on the Chickenow menu starting from 20AED or less.
The Place: 5 / 10
The Service: 6 / 10
The Food: 6 / 10
Overall: 5.7 / 10
If you like fast food or chicken tenders, you have to try Chickenow. The menu has a lot of options, but skip it all and go to the good stuff!