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Rooster Man! brings elevated fast-food poultry to Pittsburgh

click on to enlarge A large fried chicken sandwich sits next to a bright-red box of french fries.

CP Photograph: Jamie Wiggan

Basic Sandwich combo from Rooster Man!

Rolling out a sequence of hen joints whereas branding your self as a champion for off-piste, family-owned eateries is an inherently dangerous transfer. However, it’s a threat the gregarious movie star chef Man Fieri has gladly launched into, and he’s now introduced his Rooster Man! franchise to Pittsburgh. So, how does it maintain up?

The idea of an up-scale, fast-food hen restaurant requires sustaining the necessities of velocity and affordability whereas introducing some significant commonplace of high quality. Take away any of those and its goal evaporates.

This, in any case, is the rubric I set for Rooster Man!, with the very best end result one thing akin to meals truck commonplace and the worst to an overpriced KFC.

My first tasting try is rebuffed by an extreme line that no sane individual ought to endure in pursuit of quick meals. However it’s nonetheless the primary week of enterprise so let’s not maintain this rampant reputation towards them. I returned two days later at a intentionally awkward level in the course of the afternoon. The wait is lengthy, however acceptable given the lingering first-week opening hype.

I order the CG Basic Sandwich combo, which comes with fries and a drink. Sure, I do know this idea emphasizes its hen tenders and sauces however, to me, boneless hen strips in batter should not a severe meals for individuals over the age of 10. However throw them in a sandwich with the fitting stability of toppings and I’d take them over any of the pretentious choices vaunted within the fine-dining world.

The sandwich is interesting and well-proportioned, with two fried hen filets stacked between slices of fluffy golden brioche and padded out with a thick quilt of salad. A bite-size hen protrusion shamelessly provides itself, so I snap it off to pattern the primary ingredient minus the palliative help of sauce and salad.

click on to enlarge A large photo of Guy Fieri holding a chicken sits in a fast-food restaurant dining room.

CP Photograph: Jamie Wiggan

Rooster Man! location in Downtown Pittsburgh

Whereas superior to common quick meals choices, the meat comes off as inescapably dry. Not stick-your-mouth-together-dry, however under what you’d anticipate for what’s described within the chain’s advertising as “tenders brined in contemporary lemon juice, pickle brine, buttermilk, and infused with contemporary herbs.” 

The batter is crisp, and the seasoning is mild however well-balanced — not excessively salty within the ilk of their opponents.

The subsequent chew introduces a delicate slice of cheese, a layer of finely shredded lettuce, glimpses of tomato and onion, an ooze of particular sauce, and two discs of ethereal bread, candy however not cake-like.

This mix is way extra passable. The sunshine tang from the mustard-based sauce cuts via with out overpowering the gentle hen taste and masks its underlying dryness. Texturally, the dense net of lettuce provides a crunchy counterpoint to the mushy plenty of bread and meat. It is a first rate sandwich.

Onto the fries. They’re served thin-cut — a little bit crisp on the skin and comfortable within the center. They arrive by default coated in a house-made seasoning combine, modeled loosely on a Cajun spice mix however with out a lot kick. The result’s earthy with a lick of sweetness, however the stability feels a little bit off. My intuition is to say they’re too keen on the powdered garlic, however it’s best to confirm this with an actual meals critic.

I respect Rooster Man for defaulting to one thing aside from plain (which doesn’t look like an possibility for unadventurous diners), however the fries didn’t fairly do it for me.

The pre-tax complete for all this (together with a fountain drink) involves $12.49. Feels a bit steep for quick meals, however pushes for fairer pay, and the forces of inflation imply the times of $5 fast-food meals are lengthy behind us. For comparability, Burger King sells its hen sandwich combos for $9.98. On this case, I’d say the additional $2.50 is price it for a notably superior product that stretches with out breaking the cheap boundaries of quick meals pricing.

Summing up the expertise, the reasonably dry hen is the one notable sore spot. It’s one that would mirror the novelty of employees in coaching, so I’ll maintain an open thoughts that my subsequent serving might be tender and succulent. If that pans out, I’ll give it a hearty endorsement. Till then, I’d slightly say strive it for your self.

Rooster Man!. 4 PPG Place, Suite 150. Downtown.

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