Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Slim Chickens impresses with sliders

Posted By on Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 10:29 AM

click to enlarge Slim Chickens' Slider Plate - MICHAEL ROBERTS
  • Michael Roberts
  • Slim Chickens' Slider Plate
I've been revisiting restaurants lately that I didn't care for on my first try. I'm a big fan of second chances, believing that grudge-holding does nothing but bring a body down. Bad meals happen, but sometimes a second look can change a mind completely.

When it comes to Arkansas-based chicken chain Slim Chickens, my initial impression was, well, that the place was pretty mediocre. Our print review author disagreed with me, calling the joint "fresh and tasty," but I stand by my opinion of that first visit: it was a soggy, greasy mess.

Fast forward a year or so, and I've gone back to the place several times. My wife really likes the food there, and since it's so close, we make it by every few weeks for a quick, cheap dinner on nights we don't feel like cooking. And as I kept eating there, something pretty awesome happened: the food began to get better, and the problems I ran into on my first visit disappeared. Fries were crisp and not limp, the chicken was well-fried without the breading falling apart, and the mushroom and pickle sides weren't sodden with grease anymore. In other words, I started to like the place.

It was about this time that I discovered the Slider Plate. Now the slider plate is a messy thing to eat, but it is a glorious and decadent affair. Slim's takes some good old light bread, adds some lettuce and pickles, and slaps a fresh-fried chicken tender right in the middle, adding a topping of whatever sauce you want. For me, that's the house-made barbecue sauce, a tangy, spicy, and rich sauce that doesn't overpower the chicken — but it sure makes each bite a good time.

I really like it when restaurants tighten up and fix issues in the kitchen. In addition, drive-thru service — which was once nightmarish and slow — has become much quicker and more efficient. There's apparently a really good crew working at the Markham Slim Chicken's, and those sliders have won me over for sure.

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