Thursday, June 23, 2011

Brass Knuckle - Fryin' Maiden

It is really hard for me to pass up a fried chicken sandwich when I see it on a menu. I mean, what's not to love about fried chicken and bread? It's always one of my favorites, and today I discovered that  Brass Knuckle is no stranger in a strange land when it comes to this comfort food classic.

Brass Knuckle has a rather extensive menu of innovative sandwiches, and if the ingredients were not enough to tempt the palate, each dish is "named" after a popular musical group. They serve a limited selection of these daily along with a dessert, so there is often something new to try. And depending on the availability of seasonal ingredients, there are sometimes tweaks to the existing menu. Brass Knuckle is a fun, hip food truck with creative twists on conventional sandwiches.

I am probably (most likely!) dating myself, but my very first concert was Iron Maiden. If I remember correctly, I was in the seventh grade, and I convinced my Dad to take me. We had awful seats, almost in the last row, but I was terribly excited to be there. I was pretty fortunate to have such a cool Dad to take me to a heavy metal show! Brass Knuckle's fried chicken sandwich is called the Fryin' Maiden, so it seemed apropos that this would the first thing I tried from their cart.

Brass Knuckle describes the Fryin' Maiden as a fried chicken sandwich, but a more fitting description would be a fried chicken salad sandwich. Or maybe a diced fried chicken sandwich. Either way it was a bit different than I expected because instead of one solid piece of fried chicken, it was instead fried pieces of chicken. They were topped with a crunchy slaw and served on a submarine roll alongside sweet potato tater tots.

Let's face it, the best part of fried chicken is the crispy skin or crunchy coating; it can make or break the dish. Fried chicken pieces meant more surface area to coat, so not only was my sandwich crunchier, it also was more flavorful. The buttermilk coating was zesty with hints of cayenne pepper and other spices, and each crunch packed more of a punch than Bruce Dickinson's vocals. Frying small pieces of chicken runs the risk of drying them out, but not here. The chicken was moist and tender, salty and smoky. Delicious! The slaw was a mixture of both red and green julienned cabbage, mixed with mayonnaise, green onions and an occasional bit of jalapeno to add an element of complexity. The sandwich had a kick, but it mostly came from the spices on the chicken. The jalapenos added more flavor than heat, making their taste subtle but definitely apparent. The tater tots were a nice addition, adding a sweet component to challenge the zest of my sandwich.

As fried chicken sandwiches go this was one of the better ones, perhaps even greater than Alexander. Even though it was pretty big and I was pretty full, the flavor was so good that I still wanted more of it when I was done. Bruce and his mates would be proud...

Rating: 4/5 (ratings guide)

Brass Knuckle (@brassknuckelsf) $8.00 per sandwich

Brass Knuckle on Urbanspoon

Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!

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